Is Cold Water Swimming Bad For You?

Coldwater dip

Is Cold Water Swimming Bad For You?

The answer is NO, it’s is not bad at all. In conversely, swimming in the cold water might bring you a lot of benefits that you didn’t expect. You may think that swimming in cold water is one of the last things you’d dream of doing, but there are significant health benefits attached to it. In many nations there is a cultural tradition of cold water dips – whether that’s a swim on special occasions such as Boxing Day or New Year’s Day as in the UK, or as part of a routine of alternating hot saunas and cold baths perceived to have health benefits, such as in Japan, Germany, Russia, and Scandinavia.

So, let’s find out together to see the benefits to health that cold water swim brings!


Believe it or not, there are some great benefits to performing cold water swimming! 

Swimming in cold water can provide incredible health benefits

Swimming in cold water can provide incredible health benefits

1. Swimming in cold water creates excitement for the body

To avoid feeling sleepy, people often bathe in cold water. Then the body will release the active ingredient endorphins that creates the most euphoric sensation. When our skin is exposed to cold water combined with flexible swimming movements, the body will truly awake.

If you contact the body immediately with cold water will create a feeling of not familiar. However, when swimming for a long time in cold water, the feeling of bathing will be really comfortable. This cold water swimming activity is very suitable for those who have to work hard and tired.

2. Effective fat burning

Now, obesity and overweight are a concern of many women. However, you don’t have to worry about an effective way to burn calories. Swimming in the cold water helps the body works twice as much, fat is burned faster and more strongly. In addition, swimming in cold water also helps improve blood circulation. A study shows that if obese people regularly swim, it helps the body burn fat. The more you bathe in cold water, the more calories you burn.

3. Improve immune system

Swimming in cold water increases the overall metabolism, stimulates the best immune system for the body. Not only that but swimming in cold water also improves immunity, protecting you from prolonged coughs and colds. Research by the University of Portsmouth (UK) shows that people who regularly swim in the sea, where water is colder than swimming pools, tend to have fewer colds than ordinary people. Even if they get sick, it is milder.

4. Swimming in cold water to treat depression

According to a scientific study, using the method of swimming in cold water to treat depression. And especially this is very useful for women. Compared to using drugs for treatment, this swimming method is very effective. Swimming in cold water will help refresh the spirit, increase adaptability for swimmers. In addition, it also helps ensure a much more comfortable mind.

5. Swimming in cold water creates a feeling of alertness, brain warm-up

Starting a new working day with good exercise by swimming will make the spirit more alert and active. Furthermore, it also promotes brain work faster. Try to soak in cold water and swim a few rounds before or at work hours you will definitely feel awake and comfortable.

Initially, being exposed to cold water will make you feel surprised. However, when you soak in cold water for a long time, you will feel the excitement in it. The swimmer will sense their heart rate has not increased much and begin to control their breathing.

But cold water immersion is a double-edged sword – and there is another group, often including those working in search and rescue, who will warn of the dangers posed by cold water.

Swimming in cold water is a double-edged sword

Swimming in cold water is a double-edged sword


Hypothermia, when body temperature falls below 35˚C (normal body temperature is between 36.5˚C and 37.5˚C), can be severe if left undetected and quick treatment. That’s a very real risk for swimmers in naturally flowing waters, especially during the coldest months.

Symptoms of hypothermia include:

  • Creepy
  • Cold, pale skin
  • Bruised lips
  • Tired
  • Confusion
  • Fast breathing
  • Stutter

To treat hypothermia it is important to heat it up, but not too quickly. Take off any wet clothes (like your swimwear), dry and put on warm clothes quickly, and curl up in blankets. You should also have a warm drink and eat a mild sugary meal. If your symptoms do not improve, call an ambulance.

Cold water shock

Is the body’s short-term response to cold water. It causes blood vessels in the skin to close and your heart starts to work harder. It also produces reactions to panting, rapid breathing. Cold water shock usually lasts about 90 seconds. To avoid cold water shock is to slowly enter the water, do not jump into or immerse the whole body in the water.

Limb rashes disease

You will not be limb rashes disease for swimming in icy temperatures but they can appear if you heat up too quickly. Small red bumps on your skin (usually on the extremities like your fingers and toes after exposure to cold temperatures) are not usually serious, but they can cause itching and discomfort.

As a rule, make sure you don’t warm up too quickly after swimming in cold water. 

What is the temperature of the water to call cold water?

At the same temperature, it feels colder underwater than on land. That is because human feeling hot and cold is not dependent on the ambient temperature (although the ambient temperature has an indirect effect), it depends on the rate of heat exchange between the body and the environment.

Since water is a better conductor of heat, water absorbs more heat than air, so heat from your body is released in water faster than in air and you will find water cooler than air, even though they have the same temperature. Studies show that the body in water loses heat 25 times faster than it does in the air.

Therefore, we need to master some of the body reactions and water activities in accordance with the following water temperature ranges from high to low:

1. From 30 ° C to 34 ° C (warm-hot water)

These high temperatures are suitable for exercise activities for babies and children, the elderly, the frail, thin, or injured. For children, this temperature helps to keep their bodies comfortable in their new environments, to keep their muscles warm and fluid, and to prevent any shortness of breath that may arise from water that is too cold.

For the elderly, their bodies are less able to tolerate large changes in temperature and are more susceptible to damage in both hot and cold temperatures. Water that is too cold or too hot is not only uncomfortable for the elderly but also detrimental to their health.

2. From 25 ° C to 28 ° C (cool water)

This is the standard temperature for swimming pools that are held in competitions according to the FINA Law. At this temperature range, swimming performance is maximized due to their maximum oxygen consumption and bodily regulatory functions reaching their upper limit.

When the temperature is above this range, the athlete’s performance is reduced as they will use more energy to regulate their warming body temperature. This is also the temperature range where people are comfortable for playing, entertaining, and exercising underwater.

3. From 20 ° C to below 25 ° C (freezing cold water)

There is marked vasoconstriction, organ dysfunction occurs, swimming effort and swimming performance are reduced, and immersion in water will become difficult due to hypothermia.

4. Below 20 ° C (extremely cold water)

Humans come into contact with water at this temperature usually by an accident in the water. Hayward et al suggest that, at temperatures below 20 ° C, people who fall into the water must stay completely still instead of trying to swim, unless they are very close to shore, as swimming increases heat loss through the skin, leading to an earlier loss of body heat, which is life-threatening.

In general, in countries, the most common temperature for a public swimming pool used for recreation and exercise is between 26 ° C – 28 ° C. This temperature is healthy and is the best water temperature for the average swimmer. This is the temperature that makes the swimmer feel cool, when jumping into the water, it will shiver a little, but swimming a few laps feels comfortable and relaxing.

However, beyond how comfortable it is to swim in cold water, you will have the added health benefits of less anticipation. Swimming in cold water strengthens your immune system (you are less likely to get sick with wind-like diseases), increases endorphins (you will feel energized), increases blood circulation (helps you get rid of impurities faster), burn more calories (can help you lose weight), reduce stress and… increase your libido! (soaking in cold water can increase your testosterone and estrogen). For these benefits, try to discover and experience for yourself.


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