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6 Amazing Health Benefits Of Cold Water Swimming

6 Amazing Health Benefits Of Cold Water Swimming

Cold water swimming is the act of swimming in a pool, lake, or pond when it’s at its coldest. It often takes place in winter, but it doesn’t always have to. The International Ice Swimming Association, for example, demands that water be colder than 5 degrees Celsius for international competition.

These are six major health benefits to cold water swimming. We know they exist because of studies into the health benefits of water in general. Many regular cold water swimmers have managed to increase both their life expectancy and overall quality of life.

On top of that, you can expect better fitness in general, along with all the benefits that come with being a fit and healthy human being. Just make sure you pair cold water swimming with a balanced diet.

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If you want to improve your life on all fronts, think about taking a dip in your local cold water swimming pool. It will be one of the best decisions that you make. Here are six amazing health benefits of cold water swimming.

1. It boosts your immune system

The effects of cold water on the immune system have been studied widely. Cold water helps to boost the white blood cell count because the body is forced to react to changing conditions. Over time, your body becomes better at mobilizing its defenses.

There’s a reason why so many people who participate in cold water swimming are rarely sick.

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2. It gives you an endorphin high

Endorphins are what the brain produces to make us feel good about certain activities. Cold water swimming is a form of exercise, and exercise has been proven to treat depression. Cold water swimming brings us close to the pain barrier. Endorphins are released when we’re in pain to help us cope.

Cold water swimming is particularly helpful for endorphin release for this reason. Who can say no to a few extra endorphins?

3. It enhances your circulation

Cold water swimming flushes your veins, arteries, and capillaries. It forces blood to the surface and pushes the cold downwards. In other words, it helps to warm our extremities. Repeated exposure adapts us to the cold.

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In older and vulnerable people, this is essential. It helps them better cope during harsh winters. The seasons become less of a health risk and more enjoyable.

4. It increases your libido

Cold water was traditionally seen as a way to repress sexual urges. The fact is that it actually 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.

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5. It burns more calories

The heart must pump faster and the body must work harder to keep everything warm while swimming in cold water. Overall, you will burn far more calories than swimming in hotter conditions. The idea that drinking cold water increases the number of calories you burn may be a myth, but it’s a fact that cold water decreases your body temperature so much that the body has to act. It’s no coincidence that cold water swimmers are generally thin.

6. It reduces stress

Stress is a demon in the modern world. When stressful times come, we are woefully unprepared for them. Reducing stress means you will feel better, you will feel more optimistic, and you will be more resilient when stressful times come along.

Cold water swimming places stress on the body physically and mentally. Many studies have told us about the link between cold water and stress reduction. Cold water swimmers are naturally calmer and more relaxed. They are stronger in the face of adversity.

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Last Updated on December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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