7 Health Benefits of Cold Water

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7 Health Benefits of Cold Water

With long, dark nights looming and temperatures plummeting, it can be easy to talk yourself out of spending time outside and, more specifically, in cold water during the winter. That said, once you decide to take the plunge, you’ll be surprised to hear of the many health benefits and the positive ways in which this can affect your body. At F-One kites, much of our equipment is for water sports, so we thought we’d look at just some of the health benefits provided by spending time in cold water in case you need a little more motivation to get out there yourself!

Boosted Metabolism

Our bodies contain two types of fat: brown and white. While modern humans tend to have more of the white variety, head back a thousand years or two and the balance is thought to have been much more even. Brown fat can be activated by cold water, and it will keep you warm, burn calories at a higher rate and increase weight loss efforts. If, like so many others out there, your New Year’s resolution is to get into shape in 2019, trying your hand at a new sport like kitesurfing or SUP boarding might just be the best way forward, and would allow you to try out some Ice Age style training methods!

Increased Fitness Levels

In the same way that training in an altitude chamber can help athletes to perfect their levels of fitness, pushing yourself to train in harsh conditions makes breathing more difficult. This makes the body optimise whatever oxygen is available, allowing it to go further and contributing to your ability of adapting to a variety of environments. This is perfect for kitesurfers or SUP boarders preparing to try out different locations with varying conditions. Any kind of activity that helps you to maintain a level of fitness is a benefit to those who engage in water sports and will help them to continue enjoying their favourite hobby.

Pain Reduction

Whilst you might be numb to feelings of pain during a dip in cold waters, this pain reduction will prevail to post-activity and beyond thanks to the increased blood flow throughout the body. The improved circulation reduces pain by healing inflamed areas more quickly, in the same way that injuries are often bathed in hot or cold water. This way is not only more fun, but regular activity will help you to avoid a serious injury in the first place!

Experience a Natural High

Those already crazy enough to take the plunge in cold waters of sub-zero temperatures speak of the addictive ‘high’ they experience from such activity thanks to the endorphins released as a result. The purpose of these natural pain killers is to remove the sting from your skin. The cold is also said to stimulate the parasympathetic system, releasing dopamine and serotonin, both of which are vital to keeping us happy. So, not only will the natural high have you feeling on top of the world during cold-water activity, but chances are you’ll have a warm glow and a wide smile upon re-emergence too.

Increased Calorie Burn

Swimming is a fantastic full-body workout and is a beneficial form of training for those engaging in water-based sports and activities. Your body is required to work twice as hard when the added strain of temperature control becomes a factor, increasing the number of calories that can be burned in any given period as a result. Anyone who’s looking to shift some of the inevitable holiday weight in January can look at open-water swimming as an effective, fun way to lose the added weight, so you can enjoy the delicious snacks and treats available in abundance in December free of guilt.

Building Mental Fortitude

There are some people that recognise the benefits of being exposed to extreme conditions and embark on activities to make the most of the positive effects it has on their body. For example, Wim Hof, or colloquially known as ‘Ice Man’, bathes in ice and climbs up snowy mountains in shorts. Why, you ask? There is an array of benefits to this kind of activity, with the first being the mental clarity it provides through a shock to the system. This can be provided by a dip in the water while kitesurfing or SUP boarding, but you can also put your shower on the coldest setting for thirty seconds each morning to kick start your day.

Immune Booster

Exposing yourself to natural, cold settings mean you’re more likely to encounter germs. As long as you have the means to regain temperature afterwards, there is no immediate risk to healthy individuals. In fact, quite the opposite according to research published in the Free Radical Biology and Medicine journal that suggests immersing yourself in cold water helps to boost the levels of antioxidant, glutathione, which helps to further regulate other antioxidants around the body. This means that cold water submersion might actually help to reduce the risk of developing heart disease and cancer in the future.

That concludes our list of health benefits to spending time in cold water. Whether you’re a kitesurfer, SUP paddle-boarder or any other water sport enthusiast or you’re looking to try something new and effective in the New Year, there is a plethora of benefits to open water swimming in cold conditions.

Here at F-One, we gave a range of kitesurfing boards for you to browse online, before choosing the one that’s right for you and hitting the open water this winter. Warm suits are also essential and Manera have 5.4.3 hooded wetsuits to keep you warm even in the coldest of environments. If you are yet to give kitesurfing a go, check out our beginner’s guide before you make the most of the cold water benefits. Make sure you’re prepared and do your own research for each place and stay safe!