Is It Safe To Go Swimming In Cold Water?

While some prefer the steaming hot waters of a hot tub to relax, others prefer a dive into icy cold waters as an alternate form of stress relief. While there are potential risks from being submerged in frigid waters for too long, there are also a wide range of health benefits to be reaped for those who dare to take the plunge.

For starters, a cold dip does wonders for our blood health and can result in increased circulation and more effective immune system functioning (via IPRS Health). The cold temperature stimulates a number of outcomes such as increased white blood cell production, as well as the increased pumping of blood within our veins out to our extremities which actually helps keep our body warm.

Additionally, it turns out that cold water swimming may also be good for your sex life. In some cases, cold water has shown to prompt increased levels of testosterone and estrogen hormones in both men and women, improving both libido and fertility.

Cold water swimming can have physical and emotional health benefits

Aside from physical benefits, an icy plunge may also have some emotional and mental benefits as well. Some swimmers have reported feelings of increased energy and mood and certain studies appear to back up these claims. Research published in Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews provided evidence to support the idea that exposing your body to a controlled stress environment, such as cold water, results in a feeling much like a "runner's high" (via U.S. News and World Report). In these instances, the brain releases neurochemicals that equip us to more efficiently handle stress.

Of course, it is important to bear in mind that coming in contact with cold water for long periods of time can also pose some health risks and experts advise being aware of potential indicators of hypothermia which can set in as soon as 15 to 30 minutes after exposure (via TIME). The Canadian Red Cross states that while cold dips can be a popular winter activity, swimmers should take note of signs such as severe shivering, decreased physical ability, confusion, speech difficulties, stiffness, and labored breathing. By sticking to slow and steady exposure and by being self-aware of your limitations, you can maintain your health and safety should you choose to partake in a chilly dip.