As Christmas approaches many are looking to lose a few pounds to combat the overindulging and good times the festive season brings. According to a new study, swimming outside in the winter could help burn off more calories than other traditional forms of exercise. But could you brave the cold?
Calories appear to be burned due to skin temperature rising more quickly than those who do not go wild swimming.
The results showed men who swam in freezing water used up the equivalent of around 500 extra calories per 24 hours more on average than other people.
This was measured by wrapping them in cold blankets and measuring their response.
Dr Camilla Scheele, Senior Author of the study from the University of Copenhagen, explained: “Our results suggest people who swim in cold water train their body to deal differently with colder temperatures.
“As they burn more calories, they are likely to lose weight, which could be good for their health in general, as obesity is a risk factor for so many illnesses.”
How to begin cold-water swimming
As with many forms of exercise and the additional shock element, it is important to participate in cold water swimming safely. If you are unsure about whether you should do it, seek medical advice or professional training.
– Approach it with the same if not more caution as you would beginning a new exercise programme. If you have any health issues, heart or circulatory problems or high blood pressure then consult a GP first and definitely start slowly, and with warmish water before going straight for ice cold winter water!
– Make sure you can swim. It is advised to go with a friend or a group who can swim and look out for each other.
– Start in summer or early autumn when UK sea temperatures are at their warmest around 15-20 degrees Celsius.
– Try swimming in a swimming wetsuit at first to get the feel of it and then maybe reduce down to swimming in only a costume after you’ve been doing it a little while and your body has adapted. There are some great three millimetre thin swimming wetsuits as well as thicker, five millimetre wetsuits for anyone wanting to stay in the water in winter even longer.
– Start shallow and easy with a simple paddle and dip of your body before fully swimming.
– Go on a calm day if …….