Autumn has just begun, bringing cold, changeable weather in and fewer sunny days which are getting shorter and shorter. Just like every single year, you’ve been trying to find new ideas on how to remain in a good mood, stay active and, what’s even more important this season, enhance your body’s general resilience without buying a tone of drugs of questionable benefit. If, in addition, you love sea all year long, the solution is easier than you think – become an ice swimmer!
Authors note: what’s known as the polar bear club In Poland is called walruses swimming club.
Before we start, can you tell us how much does a typical polar bear weight?
Enough to break the first ice (get it?). If you’re scratching your head and wondering if it’s not a joke, let us explain what it’s all about. An ice swimmer is a person who takes a polar bear plunge which is basically swimming in cool or ice-cold water. Do you think it’s only for real temperature-insensitive, hardcore activities’ enthusiasts? – Not necessarily. Ideally, you should begin your adventure with plunging as early as in autumn, when temperatures are not at their lowest and take baby steps, gradually accustoming your organism. But first, make sure you have no circulatory disorders or a heart condition. Better safe than sorry, so literally, before jumping into cold water, consult it with your doctor.
Dip your toe before you go
You’re willing to give it a go and already know it’s safe for your health, but what’s next? Before you get into the water, warm up a bit. Jumping jacks, a few hops or a jog will do. For a start, 5 minutes in cold water should be enough. If you wish, you can slowly extend it, but you need to be systematic at the same time. To avoid hypothermia, we don’t recommend full immersion, which seems natural in summer. Instead, keep your hands high and make sure they remain dry. The same applies to your head. Some ice swimmers wear hats and gloves to prevent body heat loss. For the same reason it’s better to go in up to your armpits. Apart from a towel, a blanket and a hot beverage will prove to be just what you need!
Motivation and strong will
It’s not a secret that friends make it so much easier to take on a challenge and stick to it. There’s strength in numbers and motivating each other is much needed, when the vision of entering ice cold waves clashes with the perspective of watching your favourite series under a warm blanket. The sole thought that your mates will be waiting for you on a beach and the meeting with a plunge is likely to end up in a favourite café will make the idea of a quiet evening at your place less irresistible. If your friends frown upon the idea of ice swimming, don’t lose your spirit! Tricity has several clubs letting cold swim lovers stay in touch. Gdański Klub Morsów with its premises in Oliwa is the oldest Polish organisation of this type. To find out more about the statute and the upcoming meetings, visit the website or its Facebook page. Gdynia is not staying behind. The website dedicated to the city’s club, as well as its Facebook page, are updated regularly with many meetings and events coming soon. Ice swimming doesn’t mean boring dabbling in water – it’s a phenomenon. Polar bear dips are very often matched with special dates or events, strolls, or eventful rallies. An icy group plunge is, according to some, a pure madness itself, not to mention doing it on the night of the full moon wearing crazy costumes!
Finnish influence at Sopot's beaches
The custom of using saunas was brought to us from Finland, where it’s a substantial part of the culture. Yet, not everybody knows that they were traditionally built on shores to allow for quick access to a cool water dip. The facility quite recently built near M15 restaurant on the beach in Sopot, which consists of four modules, offers a similar experience. While sitting inside in the heat, you’ll be enjoying the sea view and the water, only a few steps away. It’s a perfect option to begin polar bear plunging and little less troublesome as well, as after the plunge you’ll easily take a shower, warm-up and change clothes without shivering.
More than meets the eye
In addition to being a boon for your immunity, regular plunges will also bring you other benefits. Above all, they improve the capacity of the cardiovascular system. Apart from having a great impact on your overall condition, polar bear dips enhance the look of your skin, invigorating it through pushing toxins out of your body. They’re also an invaluable energy boost, because, as a result, neurotransmitters are released, i.e. dopamine and adrenaline which improve your concentration, motivation and mood in general.
Polar bear plunging isn’t for everyone, as it requires self-discipline. In exchange, you’ll strengthen your immune system, enhance skin appearance and, what’s extremely important this autumn, you‘ll stay optimistic and full of energy. Don’t forget about the opportunity to get to know other positively crazy, like-minded people who care about staying healthy and active.