The idea of swimming in cold water to lose weight gives me shivers just thinking about it. However, there has been some new and emerging research that has been done on this very topic due to the growing interest of it becoming an effective fat loss exercise.
The 4 Benefits of Swimming in Cold Water
Here are the 4 benefits to swimming in cold water:
- It Can Be Addicting – Believe it or not, swimming in cold water can be very addicting to some people. It sounds crazy to people who don’t do it, I mean who in their right mind would choose cold water over a nice soothing warm/hot water swim? Well there is some science to that preference that may explain why people choose cold water. There is something called a ‘cold water high’ that people experience when swimming in cold water. Much like the ‘runner’s high’, endorphins are released that cause people to feel a ‘good feeling’ sensation. Endorphins are your body’s natural painkillers that are released in response to certain triggers. In addition to endorphins being released, the neurotransmitters dopamine and seratonin are released as well. These neurotransmitters are vital in keeping us happy and the release of all three of these natural chemicals gives off the ‘cold water high’ that makes cold water swimming so addicting for some people.
- Boosts Your Immune System – Contrary to what is considered common sense, immersing yourself in cold water has been known to boost your immune system. Scientists from the Czech Republic ran a study that immersed participants in cold water for one hour for three times a week and found a significant increase in white blood cell count (which are responsible for protecting your body from bacteria and viruses) and other immune boosting factors.
- Enhance Libido – Another study was done to monitor the effects of immersing oneself in cold water and found that participants who were immersed into cold water had experienced an increase in sex hormones. This meant that men experienced an increase in testosterone and women experienced an increase in estrogen. These hormones play an important role for your libido and fertility.
- Burns More Calories – While, not necessarily a lot more calories, cold water swimming does assist in burning a few extra calories by the end of your workout. A study done at the University of Florida found that men who exercised in 68 degree Fahrenheit water for 45 minutes burned an average of 517 calories where men who exercised in 91.4 degree Fahrenheit water for 45 minutes burned only 505 calories on average.
Things to Watch Out For
If you plan on swimming in cold water to lose weight then there are two major drawbacks to consider. They are:
- Increased Hunger – A study conducted at the University of Florida showed that people who swim in cold water eat on average a whopping 44% more calories right after swimming than people who swim in warm water do. This huge increase is something you should pay close attention to if you’re planning on swimming in cold water as it could completely wipe out any results you may have had.
- Can Be Dangerous – You’re essentially playing with fire here, well not really ‘fire’ but you get my point right? You’re putting yourself at risk when going into cold water because you put your body into a ‘fight or flight’ situation in which your body starts to struggle to try and keep you warm. Whenever you put yourself in a situation like that there can be complications that occur so be very careful when attempting this. I recommend you talk to your doctor first before attempting something like this, especially if you have a heart condition.
Now that you have a better understanding about the benefits and drawbacks of cold water swimming, what are your thoughts on cold water swimming to lose weight? Love it? Hate it? Share your thoughts below!