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 places 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 you get changed. And 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, having a hot drink, sitting in a sauna or lying down under a warm blanket, while you feel the heat spreading through your body.
It not only feels nice, but also releases endorphins. Who doesn't want a proper 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 a lot less stressed. Put simply, they've developed better control of their stress. At the same time, it can also relieve aching 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 are suffering from cardiovascular disease. Also, make sure to never bathe alone or with alcohol in your bloodstream.
You can improve both your willpower and breathing with winter swimming.
4. You can improve your blood circulation and increase calorie consumption
Winter swimming can certainly be considered to be a form of exercise. When you get cold, your body consumes more energy to keep you warm, which increases your calorie consupmtion. It is said that 10 seconds of winter swimming is equivalent to 20 minutes of running.
And while we're on the subject, can you guess what’s essential 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 nice session in the sauna!
5. You'll train your willpower and breathing
Who needs personal trainers and self-help books to boost willpower when you can get that for free by swimming in ice-cold water? It goes without saying - plunging into freezing cold water during the winter when you're already huddling for warmth on land truly requires a lot of willpower.
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 calm breathing. When your whole body is submerged in the water, it's certainly normal to experience 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 straight away.
Many of those who go winter swimming feel they have more energy, and that they are happier and more relaxed.
6. You get a wonderful experience in nature
Make winter swimming an adventure. Find a nice place to warm up first, such as a forest or by the water. Be sure to take in the awesome experience you've embarked upon. Let your body become one with the water and stay in the present. As long as you keep away from water with strong currents, just have faith in this unusual, cold trend.
"Sure, but tell me a place where I can safely do some winter swimming!” 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](](/spa/sweden/) and Norway, with great swimming spots nearby:
Farris Bad in Larvik is popular with winter swimmers.
Son Spa, is located just outside Oslo and offers sauna rituals that include swimming just outside the hotel. You'll also find nice sauna on the hotel pier.
Farris Bad in Larvik is popular with winter swimmers. Part of the hotel is literally located on the water, so it's not far to seek shelter after your swim.
The Thief is located in central 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 counts the Oslo Fjord as one of its closest neighbours. You'll find a jetty just outside the hotel, as well as several floating saunas. You can even ask the hotel to bring out slippers and bathrobes – a welcome luxury after your dip!
Clarion Hotel® The Edge in Tromsø is about 5 minutes' walk from the “Pust" bathing area where people jump into the water on a daily basis throughout the winter. You'll also find a sauna there.
Clarion Collection® Hotel With is also located in Tromsø and offers a view of “Pust” from both the hotel rooms and the restaurant.
Many people throw themselves into the water during the winter at The Thief in 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. This beautiful spa and conference hotel has swimming facilities right outside with a lovely jetty and 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 of course a plunge pool filled with chilly 12-degree water…
The spa hotel Yasuragi offers a beautiful view of nature.
Clarion Hotel® The Edge is close to a very popular spot for winter swimming.