How cold water swimming improves stress management: Mental Health, 'Loony Dookers' and Polar
Cold water swimmers can seem almost evangelical about their post-swimming 'high’ and credit cold swims with curing depression, anxiety and PTSD (as well as cancer, pain and all manner of other afflictions). But what is the evidence to back this up?
In fact, it seems that the key might be its effect on our stress responses. In brief, learning to cope with the extreme stress of cold water immersion may fast-track improvements in our ability to cope with all of life’s stresses, and re-set what we are actually stressed by. As a therapist, I’d say good mental health is built on our ability to cope with everyday stresses.
Cold water swimming is too extreme for many of us, but benefits can be seen from less extreme activities such as 30 second cold showers. Worth thinking about? Have a look...