Updated: Dec 23, 2018
Swimming is not just for the summer!
With Halloween over and Thanksgiving a few weeks away, it’s starting to feel like winter is right around the corner. Not only does the changing season bring colder weather and longer nights, but it also brings a type of depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder. The severe winter blues associated with the disorder affects more than 3 million Americans, and experts say it begins to set in with Daylight Savings time.
Fortunately there are several things a person can do to alleviate the depressive symptoms. According to researchers working from the University of Oulu in Finland, regular winter swimming is a great place to start!
The study, which was published by the International Journal of Circumpolar Health, focused on swimmers and non-swimmers throughout the four months of winter.
The individuals who swam reported significant decreases in tension and fatigue, and improvements in memory and mood. The swimmers’ fatigue and vigor also improved substantially relative to non-swimmers.
The benefits of winter swimming also extended to physical health. Swimmers who participated in the study reported decreased pain related to rheumatism and asthma. They also reported having higher thresholds for dealing with fibromyalgia and arthritis.
The researchers concluded that winter swimming relieves pain and inflammation by affecting the autonomic and central nervous systems. These factors also directly regulate a person’s mood and ability to withstand stress.
With this long list of benefits, it’s not difficult to see how swimming massively improves a person’s general health and alleviates his or her winter-related depressive symptoms. So, when your clock “falls back” on Sunday, go ahead and fall into a new winter swimming routine!