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Winter swimming is a stressful condition of whole-body exposure to cold water; however, winter swimmers have achieved variable degrees of adaptation to cold. The question arises whether this extreme sport activity has any health benefits or whether it may confer potentially harmful effects. As a form of aerobic exercise, albeit more strenuous when performed in cold water, winter swimming may increase body tolerance to stressors and achieve body hardening. When practiced by individuals who are in good general health adopting a regular, graded and adaptive mode, winter swimming seems to confer cardiovascular (CV), and other health benefits. On the other hand, unaccustomed individuals are at risk of death either from the initial neurogenic cold-shock response, or from progressive decrease of swimming efficiency or from hypothermia. Furthermore, as it may occur with any intense exercise, individuals with evident or occult underlying CV conditions may be more susceptible to adverse effects with provocation of arrhythmias and CV events that may pose a significant health risk. Hence, a stepwise strategy to initiate and build up this recreational activity is recommended to enhance and sustain acclimation, achieve protection from potential risks of cold-water exposure and possibly avail from its promising health benefits. We need more data from prospective studies to better investigate the short- and long-term health consequences of this important recreational activity.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Current sports medicine reports
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An activity in which the body is propelled through water by specific movement of the arms and/or the legs. Swimming as propulsion through water by the movement of limbs, tail, or fins of animals is often studied as a form of PHYSICAL EXERTION or endurance.
Excavations or containment structures filled with water and used for swimming.
A moderate-growing, photochromogenic species found in aquariums, diseased fish, and swimming pools. It is the cause of cutaneous lesions and granulomas (swimming pool granuloma) in humans. (Dorland, 28th ed)
The dormant state in which some warm-blooded animal species pass the winter. It is characterized by narcosis and by sharp reduction in body temperature and metabolic activity and by a depression of vital signs.
The class of true jellyfish, in the phylum CNIDARIA. They are mostly free-swimming marine organisms that go through five stages in their life cycle and exhibit two body forms: polyp and medusa.