5 Awesome health benefits of Open Water swimming!

 

We all know that Open Water swimming is a fun and invigorating sport but it may be surprising for some to learn that it actually boasts some rather unique health boosting effects. In fact, Open Water swimming can boost your immune system, improve circulation, allow you to burn more calories and even improve your mental health…

1. It will boost your immune system!

A study by scientists in the Czech Republic has revealed that regular open water swimming can act to boost your immune system. They studied subjects who volunteered to immerse themselves in cold water for one hour, three times a week.

The results were pretty amazing, they found that regular cold water immersion actually constituted a shock, or an ‘attack’, to the body and so promoted a substantial increase in the production of white blood cells – and a resulting natural boost to the immune system! The nerdier ones amongst you may want to read the report in full.

2. It improves circulation (and your skin!)

Another great health benefit of cold water swimming is its positive effects on the body’s circulatory system. When the body finds itself in certain temperature extremes, in our case cold water, the heart reacts by pumping more blood to your organs. As such, the body’s circulation is improved and any impurities in the blood are flushed away more easily. And it gets even better… this improvement in the body’s circulation can actually result in a better complexion, giving a healthy glow to your skin – what’s not to like!

In fact, sea water has been found to have the greatest skin boosting properties. And a report published in the Skin Research and Technology journal found that sea water had a marked effect in improving certain skin conditions, such as psoriasis. And further still, the British Association of Dermatologists has found that regular sea swims can act to reduce the symptoms of childhood eczema.

3. It can improve your mental health (and reduce anxiety)

Studies have pointed out that Open Water swimming is linked to improvements in mental wellbeing and resulting reductions in levels of stress and anxiety. Escaping the urban environment (and the confines of the swimming pool) allows you to get closer to nature, to experience more sunlight and  therefore to reap the benefit of increases in levels of Vitamin D and serotonin and therefore a greater feeling of wellbeing.

But beyond that well trusted formula, there is also increasing evidence, both medical and anecdotal (ask any open water swimmer and they’ll tell you), that swimming in cold water is linked to feelings of exhilaration, increases in adrenalin, and so a resulting increase in positive wellbeing. There’s only one way to find out if it’ll work for you…head down to your nearest lake, river or reservoir and take the plunge!

4. You’ll burn way more calories (than in a pool)

We already know that swimming is a great sport for burning calories and getting fit…but Open Water swimming takes the benefits of conventional pool swimming to the next level! Swimming in cold water environments allows you to burn many more calories than you do in the swimming pool.

This is because your body is not just burning calories by propelling you through the water but because it is working hard to maintain your body temperature while you swim in this colder environment – it really is a full body workout and it’s so much more fun than slogging it out on a treadmill in a sweaty gym. If you’re after a real workout then check out our Tri Squad – swimming interval sets in cold water will really push your fitness levels to the next level!

5. And finally…it boosts your libido!

And as if those 4 health benefits weren’t enough…a study has found that the libido can benefit from Open Water swimming too. In the study subjects were asked to take daily cold baths and then the sex hormones of participants – testosterone in men and oestrogen in women – were measured and any changes recorded. They found that regular cold water immersion actually increased the levels of these sex hormones which could well result in an increase in libido but also in levels of fertility too. I guess there’s only one way to find out…

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