Tips for Cold Water Swimming for Beginers
Tips for Cold Water Swimming for Beginners
Cold Water Swimming & Plunge Pools
There is a huge increase in the popularity of cold water plunge pools as well as cold water swimming. Part of this surge is the increasing awareness of the health benefits. However, it is important to do your research, understand your physical limitations, and take it slow. Talk with your doctor and industry experts to determine the best way for you to move forward. The following is designed to give you some basic beginner tips for cold water swimming and plunge pools.
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The Benefits of Cold Water Swimming & Plunge Pools
Boost your Immune System
The thermal shock of entering cold water causes your body to boost the white blood cell count (which helps fight infection) as it reacts to changing conditions. Over time, your body becomes better at activating its defenses. What’s more, a gradual introduction to changing conditions will help your body to build stronger natural defenses over time, as it learns how to combat extreme shifts.
As your body enters cold water your heart will begin to beat faster to keep you warm. This in turn burns through more calories and means that while you’re in the water, your metabolic rate is higher than it would be normally. Going from a cold water plunge pool to a cold water swimming activity has the added benefit of active exercise and increases this calorie burn significantly.
Mental Health & Reduced Stress
Coldwater swimming places stress on the body physically and mentally. Many studies have identified the link between cold water and stress reduction. Coldwater swimmers become calmer and more relaxed. Studies regularly show that the self discipline also teaches resilience, fortitude, and a more positive way of thinking.
Increase in Libido
Coldwater was traditionally seen to repress sexual urges. The fact is that it increases libido! A dip in some cold water boosts estrogen and testosterone production, adding an edge to fertility and libido. The benefits of increased libido include more confidence, higher self-esteem, and enhanced mood.
Hair & Skin Health
The health of our extremities is controlled in no short part by how good our circulation system is. With your veins, capillaries, and arteries forcing blood to the surface of your skin, it serves as a “flushing” of sorts, helping to keep our blood flow healthy, and regular. Our hair and skin benefit as a result of that.
Coldwater can cause inflamed areas to reduce and settle. Used after a rough game of football or a workout can prevent or reduce injuries. Similar to the ice pack treatment. It’s also believed that women experiencing the symptoms of menopause might also benefit from taking a dip. Factors like hot flushes, night sweats, headaches, anxiety, and memory loss have been at least somewhat alleviated by making cold water swimming part of a weekly routine. There are other studies on several inflammatory conditions with greatly reduced severity. However, for some conditions the cold can have adverse effects, so it is wise to check with your doctor first.
Tips for Cold Water Swimming
When considering an ice bath or cold water swim it is important to realise that you should speak with a doctor first. Some medical conditions, some pain, and some health problems can become worse in cold water. Also, the health benefits listed should be considered with a line of caution and under the “May Benefit” category. Not everyone responds the same way and some people may react adversely.
There are some genuine risks associated with cold water theory and those are body shock, frostbite, hypothermia, heat arrhythmia, and even heart attacks that can happen under this sudden change in temperature shock. So it is highly recommended to go slow and get to know your body, and if concerned see your doctor first.
Do Your Research – The Risks
These tips for cold water swimming may form part of your journey however it is important to understand as much as you can before getting stuck in. Learn about what the sudden introduction of cold water does to your body, as well as what warning signs to look for. Speak with your doctor or you can book cold water swimming sessions with trained coaches, or with other experienced people. Cold water can lead to hypothermia, frostbite, and even death if the exposure is prolonged. As the water approaches zero the positive effects increase, but also the increase of negative risks. Even in as little as 15 minutes can kill. So it is critically important to know your limits and start slow. More on Hypothermia.
It’s important to take the time to allow each part of your body to adjust to the conditions. Start with your ankles, move up to your knees, then your midriff, before finally submerging up to your neck. You can even allow your head to go under the water if you feel comfortable. A sudden plunge can put your body into shock. We also suggest starting with slightly warmer water say 12 to 15 degrees, before gradually using colder water.
Understand Your Limits
If your body is telling you that it’s had enough, listen to it. While half the battle with cold plunge and cold swimming is to push yourself, there comes a point where ignoring your body is dangerous. Make sure to have a strong grasp over when you are or aren’t able to remain in the water. Start with 2 minutes and work your way up. After all for unfit and untrained people, 15 minutes may be all you need to go into shock and hypothermia.
It’s fair to say that most of us aren’t used to plunging into extreme conditions. As such, you should expect your body to push back when you hit the water. Always get out when it feels too much.
Plan your Warm Up
To avoid the dreaded “after drop”, where your body becomes itchy and uncomfortable, you need to slowly bring yourself back to a normal temperature. Instantly remove any wet layers, towel yourself down, and then get something warm, or dry clothing on. Dab when drying, as rubbing might cause friction on very sensitive skin. If you still feel a chill after drying off, then consider a warm, relaxing dip in a hot tub. Eating a simple snack or a nice warm cuppa (not hot) can help bring your core temperature back up. Slowly is the key to avoiding shock.
When you try a cold plunge pool or go for a cold water swim for the first time we highly suggest you go with A friend. They’ll not only provide moral support but can also react quickly if your body begins to struggle with the conditions.
In a plunge pool having an escape plan may sound silly. But if you have bad legs or back, the cold water may ease the inflammation, but getting out could be hard, especially by yourself. The last thing you want is to get stuck in your icy bath. Another reason to take a friend with you. Even more important for a cold water swim.
Summing up the Tips for Cold Water Swimming
Subjecting yourself to cold water conditions has some significant health benefits both mentally and physically. From the increased immune response, reduced inflammation and even increased libido. However, there is a dark side to consider. Shock, hypothermia, and other negative risks must be considered. We suggest speaking with your doctor or industry experts and getting to know your limits. Everyone is different and cold water plunge pools and cold water swimming may not be for you. and that is okay. But the natural high it gives you people swear by.
For more on Tips for Cold Water Swimming, there are many sites such as Hot Tub Hideaways Guide who assisted with some of the information above.
Enjoy your plunge journey and be safe.
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