Swimming in Cold Water: 6 Amazing Benefits

There’s no doubt about it. Swimming is an activity that’s equal parts fun and healthy. For many people, it can take years to stumble upon an exercise routine that they find both physically and mentally stimulating. If only they’d found swimming earlier on, they wouldn’t have had to search for all those years.

Swimming has a wide range of health benefits in and of itself, from improving mobility and flexibility, providing a steady stream of aerobic exercise, being low-impact, and being easy on joints. When you add cold water into the mix, however, you can increase those already excellent benefits exponentially. 

Since swimming in cold water is so good for us, this calls for more opportunities to get in the pool. Some of us might think of swimming as primarily an activity that happens in the summer, but this is actually an activity that can be done year-round. In fact, some people might prefer to swim in colder months than warmer ones.

Cold water swimming, when done properly, can provide so many advantages for both physical and mental health. This is only part of the reason that you are likely to hear cold water swimmers regularly singing its praises. Without further ado, here are just a few of our top benefits of cold water swimming.

1. Cold Water Swimming Could Help Your Immune System

Many people are surprised to discover that spending time in cold water can benefit your immune system, but it actually makes a lot of sense. When we are submerged in cold water, our white blood cell count goes up. White blood cells are crucial for our bodies to fight off viruses, bacteria, and more.

With repeated exposure to cold water swimming, we can keep our white blood cell count up and thus keep us healthier.

2. Cold Water Swimming Is an Invigorating Workout

Whether it was by choice or simply by not waiting long enough for the water to heat up, think about the last time you took a cold shower. Even if it wasn’t the most pleasant sensation in the moment, chances are you were immediately energized by the jolt it caused. Eventually, your body will begin to acclimatize itself to the cold temperature, but the first moment the water hits your body is invigorating.

As long as you keep an eye on your body temperature and are cognizant of how your body reacts to this kind of stimulus, it can be a great way to enhance your workout. When you first jump into cold water, you might experience a phenomenon known as “cold water shock.” 

This typically occurs within the first minute of entering the water and reflexively causes people to take a deep breath in. As a result, you must keep your head above water to account for this involuntary gasp for air. This shock response is a common occurrence, so as long as you know what to expect, you can get on with your routine in no time.

3. Cold Water Immersion Can Improve Cardiovascular Health and Circulation

It has been reported that cold water swimming has the ability to help your cardiovascular system function at its best. 

Our circulation is helped by cold water swimming in the way that our body adapts. It sends more blood to the surface of the skin in order to keep us warm. This process becomes easier with time, meaning that our circulation is improving. If this fits your needs, it might just be time to snap on a swim cap and then hop in the water. You just might want to warm up with a hot drink when you’re done.

However, those with certain heart conditions should avoid cold swimming because it could pose several risks. If you aren’t sure whether or not cold swimming is a good idea for you, it is always wise to consult your doctor.

4. The Cold Water Can Kick-Start Your Metabolism

When our body temperature lowers, we shiver as a mechanism to keep us warm. Your heart rate also elevates automatically in order to keep providing your organs with the necessary blood flow that they require to function at their best. 

Both of these processes result in more energy being burnt off and your metabolism being kick-started.

5. Cold Water Swimming Is a Whole Body Exercise That Can Aid in Weight Loss

There’s a reason that swimming is our favorite way to exercise, and it’s because of the countless ways it can improve your well-being. From lowering blood pressure to helping get rid of body fat and more, there’s so much to get out of this activity. When you add in the effects of cold-water swimming, the list of advantages just grows that much longer.

6. Swimming in Cold Water Can Boost Your Mood

Whether you’re hopping into a chilled indoor pool or going for a swim in open water, you might just find yourself in a better headspace by the time your workout is complete. 

Exercise releases endorphins, but swimming in cold water could have the ability to release even more than usual. Endorphins are integral to our ability to be content since they allow certain responses in the brain that cause us to feel good.

So exercise boosts your mood, and swimming in cold water can boost your mood, but there are even more ways that this activity can keep you happy. Many people enjoy swimming due to the sense of community that it inspires. Whether you take a weekly class at a local gym, like to have friends over to swim at an indoor pool, or like wild swimming in cold water temperatures, there are people like you that you can connect with.

Although ice swimming does have plenty of benefits, we still have to keep our internal body temperature as close to 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit as possible. It’s also important to make sure to keep it above 95 degrees Fahrenheit, which is when hypothermia begins to set in. 

This idea is so widespread that it inspired The Outdoor Swimming Society to come into being. Although you do not have to become a member of an official club, this should give you an idea of how many people enjoy this activity all over the country and the world.

How To Warm Up While Swimming in Cold Water

Bundling up for winter swimming can also be a matter of comfort as well as safety. Many people prefer to wear a rash guard either over their bathing suit or as their bathing suit. Rash guards and wetsuits can, of course, be worn at any time of year, but their ability to insulate the wearer is especially necessary when it is colder. 

That being said, that doesn’t mean that your rash guard has to feel clunky or unattractive. Our 24th & Ocean Ocean Stripe Zip Up Rashguard Swimsuit Top has all of the benefits you’ve come to expect from a rash guard, all while still being flattering and fun to wear. 

Since we can still receive sun damage to our skin in the winter and in cloudy weather, this rash guard comes complete with 50 SPF fabric. Although we always recommend applying more sunscreen when necessary, this boost in SPF will help to keep you comfortable and healthy in and out of the water.


Cold Water Swimming — Benefits and Risks: A Narrative Review | PMC

Exercise and Stress: Get Moving To Manage Stress | Mayo Clinic

Hypothermia | Mayo Clinic