How is it that more and more people are choosing to plunge into icy water, completely voluntarily? Having chattering teeth, a shivering body and blue lips has become increasingly popular. Why? Here are 6 great reasons to swim outdoors in winter, and the best spots to do so in Sweden and Norway.
1. You will strengthen your immune system
Yes, you read that right. Forget the theory that the cold can make you sick. In fact, ice-cold dips can strengthen your immune system. It's always smart to get some tips before letting the cold water embrace your body. Choose a spot that is protected from the wind and where you can easily get out of the water, with the help of a ladder, for example.
It can also be smart to wear a hat, mittens and neoprene boots. Also, bring a mat or something similar to stand on when getting changed. And, last but not least, the last thing you want when getting out of the icy water is to waste time looking for your towel. Prepare your towel and clothes so you can dry off and get dressed ASAP!
2. You'll feel happier
There is something very special about freezing intensely and then returning to the shore, throwing on your clothes, drinking something warm, sitting in a sauna or lying down under a warm blanket, while you feel the lovely pulsating heat spread through your body.
Not only does it feel nice, but endorphins are also released, to dance around your body. Who doesn't want a real endorphin rush that will hopefully last until you jump into cold water again?
3. Reduces pain, tension, stress and fatigue
Many winter swimmers report that they generally feel less stressed. Put simply, they've developed better control of their stress. At the same time, it can also relieve pain in muscles and joints.
Many people even find that they feel more alert, happier, and more at ease. However, it's important to be careful if you have high blood pressure or a cardiovascular illness. Also, never bathe alone, or with alcohol in your bloodstream.
You can improve both your willpower and breathing by winter swimming.
4. You can improve your blood circulation and increase calorie usage
Winter swimming can be considered a form of exercise. When you get cold, your body consumes more energy to keep the heat up, which increases your calorie usage. Rumour has it that 10 seconds of winter swimming is equivalent to 20 minutes of running.
And while we're on the subject, you know what’s important before a workout? The warm up! The recommendation is to walk or jog yourself to get warm before exposing your body to ice-cold water. If you have a sauna nearby, you can of course warm up there. Many spa hotels combine their sauna rituals with one or more dips in ice-cold water, such as Son Spa.
Combine your winter dip with a rest in the sauna!
5. You'll train your willpower and breathing
Who needs personal trainers and self-help books to boost their willpower when you can get that for free by swimming in ice-cold water? It goes without saying - to plunge into the water in the winter when you're already huddling for warmth on land... It truly takes willpower to handle such an adventure.
Here's a little winter swimming tip: if you've made it as far as the water's edge, don't hesitate - just go for it. Even if every cell in your body is fighting against it. You made your way there for a reason, and you know that it's all about that feeling on your skin. Take a step into the water at the same time as you begin to take long, deep breaths. Then continue to focus on your calm breaths. When you then have your whole body in the water, it's ok to have a mild feeling of discomfort. If you lose control of your breathing, get out of the water immediately.
Congratulations, you made it! Not only do you now have a stronger immune system, you probably feel incredibly proud of yourself too, and rightly so! But don't forget to dry yourself off and get dressed right away.
Many of those who go winter swimming feel they have more energy, are happier and more relaxed.
6. You get a wonderful experience in nature
Make winter swimming an adventure. Find a cosy place to warm up first, maybe in the forest or by the water. Be sure to take in the awesome experience you've embarked on. Let your body become one with the water and be in the present. As long as you stay away from water with strong currents, just have faith in this unusual, cold trend.
"Sure, but tell me a place where I can winter bathe safely!” you might say. Of course, there are many great spots to choose from, whether you want to combine it with a sauna or you just want to quickly throw yourself under the covers in a warm bed when you're done. Check out our hotels and spa hotels in Sweden and Norway, with great swimming spots nearby:
Farris Bad in Larvik is popular with winter swimmers.
Son Spa, located just outside Oslo, offers sauna rituals that include swimming just outside the hotel. On the hotel's pier there's also a warm and comfortable sauna
Farris Bad in Larvik is popular with winter swimmers. Part of the hotel is located literally above the water, so it's not far to the warmth after a swim.
The Thief is centrally located in Oslo and is said to have the best location in all of Oslo, at least when it comes to winter swimming. You'll find a pier and a beach, just outside the hotel entrance.
Clarion Hotel® Oslo has the Oslo Fjord as one of its closest neighbours. Just outside the hotel you will find a jetty to swim off, as well as several floating saunas. You can even ask the hotel to bring out slippers and a bathrobe – nice and easy to put on afterwards.
Clarion Hotel® The Edge in Tromsø is a 4-6 minute walk from the “Pust" bathing area where people jump into the water daily in winter. There's also a sauna there.
Clarion Collection® Hotel With is also located in Tromsø and has a view of “Pust” from both the hotel rooms and the restaurant.
Mange kaster seg ut i vannet på vinteren ved The Thief i Oslo
Clarion Hotel® Sea U is located right next to the sea in Helsingborg, and from here you have a 15-minute walk to “Pålsjöbaden” where many people go winter swimming. Will you join them?
Stenungsbaden Yacht Club is located on the coast, 30 minutes north of Gothenburg. A beautiful spa and conference hotel, it has swimming facilities right outside the windows. The hotel has a jetty with a sauna.
Yasuragi is a magical Japanese spa hotel outside Stockholm. There are many hot baths, a sauna with a view of the Stockholm archipelago, and, naturally, a swimming pool filled with water at a temperature of 12 degrees…
The spa hotel Yasuragi offers a beautiful view of nature.
Clarion Hotel® The Edge is close to a very popular spot for winter swimming.