When I wrote a blog about swimming half a year ago it was towards the end of a full swimming season on the Adriatic and thus easy to connect oneself with this notion. But now, in February, when winter winds blow and only 100 kilometres from the seashore there is deep snow, it is not so simple to imagine swimming in the open sea.
Still, there is a number of people enjoying all benefits that cold water swimming brings in every part of the world. We have recently had some Swedish guests on the Adriatic and on a sunny winter day they expressed the desire to plunge into the sea water, especially when they heard that the sea temperature was as high as 11 degrees Celsius. However, in the end they decided not to – there were too many other things that attracted their attention.
In Pula, as well as in many other seaside places, there is a group of winter swimmers or all year round swimmers and I speak to them from time to time, wondering whether to join them. I may one day but it is not my project at the moment. What comes out as the obvious trigger for them to embrace the all year swimming is to feel good, mentally and physically strong and healthy. I also heard people saying that their blood pressure became balanced thanks to the cold water swimming.
Searching for more information about cold water swimming I found some very interesting recent reports. For example, one of them says that “a man who suffered constant pain after surgery cured it by taking a plunge in cold open water” (http://www.bbc.com/news/health-43003892). The man’s case has been reviewed by doctors who suggest a short, sharp cold water swim may offer an alternative to strong painkillers and physiotherapy. This is an amazing information but has to be taken with high level of risk and awareness that it does not work for everybody. In the case mentioned, the person was young (28 years old) and very fit. Nevertheless, this certainly will lead to further research and will probably have its implementation in various health problem situations.
Some of the articles I read dealt with several other general benefits connected with cold water swimming, such as: improved immune system, breaking the boredom cycle, gaining mental gain, more fitness and so on.
If you are already a cold water swimmer, then you know what it means for you and I am sure you enjoy it. If you plan to become one, then pay good care and attention to the risks, not just benefits, of this popular worldwide activity. The Croatian Adriatic is a very good place to start practicing it, with not so sharp winter sea temperatures and many sunny hours to enhance the overall impression of the benefits to be obtained from this activity.