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Tea & Talk this World Mental Health Day: Benefits of cold-water swimming.

We talked to Real Skills Company Director, Jane Dando who discussed the benefits she finds of cold-
water swimming, typically in water with a temperature below 15°C and sometimes dipping to 2 and
below off the North Wales Coast. While it may seem daunting to some, there are several potential
benefits associated with cold water swimming:

Jane discussed that it’s a great way to belong to a community as Cold-water swimming is often a
social activity. Joining a group or community of cold-water swimmers can provide a sense of
belonging and social support, especially on cold, damp, and dark mornings when you really what to
stay snuggled up in that warm bed.

Jane discussed how Cold-water swimming challenges your mental resilience and helps you build
mental toughness. Overcoming the initial shock and discomfort can lead to increased self-confidence
and a sense of accomplishment. Cold water swimming may trigger the release of endorphins, which
can improve mood and reduce stress and the invigorating sensation of cold water can also promote
relaxation. Jane said that regular cold-water exposure may help your body adapt to stress and
improve endurance over time. It can Improve circulation causing your blood vessels to constrict,
which is followed by a period of vasodilation (expansion of blood vessels) enhancing your overall
circulation and may be beneficial for cardiovascular health.

Jane believes that cold water swimming can boost your Immune System and some studies suggest
that regular cold-water exposure may strengthen the immune system and can stimulate the
production of white blood cells and increase the body’s antioxidant capacity. The other benefits Jane
discussed where enhanced breathing as cold-water swimming can encourage deep and rhythmic
breathing, which can improve lung function and respiratory health and may provide relief from
certain types of pain and inflammation, such as muscle soreness or joint pain. It can act as a natural
form of cryotherapy.

As exposure to cold water can cause your body to work harder to maintain its core temperature,
which may boost your metabolism. This can potentially aid in weight management and also can
stimulate the production of collagen, which may promote healthier and more youthful-looking skin.
Jane stressed that it is essential to approach cold water swimming safely, especially if you’re new to
it. Gradual acclimatisation, proper attire, and knowledge of the risks associated with cold water
immersion (such as hypothermia) are crucial. You should always consult with a healthcare
professional before starting any new exercise or wellness routine, especially if you have underlying
medical conditions.

[Photo by sergio souza:]

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