Winter swimming or winter swimming is very common in World. Some enter the icy water only during Epiphany bathing, while others practice swimming in the winter on a regular basis. The motives of all people are completely different: someone wants to improve their health and increase immunity in this way, someone just likes to be in extreme situations and tests their body for strength, and someone simply lost a bet and wants to prove that he can withstand extreme temperatures. But absolutely all people planning to enter the icy water should be aware that rivers, lakes and any other bodies of water in the winter season are a special element that requires special preparation and compliance with safety rules. Especially for you, we have prepared a guide on how to properly prepare yourself for a meeting with ice water.
How to prepare for swimming?
To begin with, it is worth highlighting those who are better off not testing the body for strength. People with the following diseases are strictly forbidden to swim in ice water:
- Uncontrolled arterial hypertension;
- Chronic heart failure;
- Ventricular arrhythmias;
- Chronic inflammatory diseases of the nasopharynx, bronchi and lungs;
- Chronic diseases of the cardiovascular and central nervous system;
- Recurrent osteochondrosis of the spine.
According to various estimates, preparation for swimming in ice water, depending on the individual characteristics of the body, takes an average of 3 to 5 months. You can start with walking in cold or frosty weather, a contrast shower, pouring and washing your feet with cool water. Experts advise to start swimming in the summer, when the water temperature exceeds +18-20 degrees, and continue as it cools. And if it is not possible to regularly swim in open water, then gradually lower the water temperature while taking a shower – it is recommended to lower it by 1 degree every 2 weeks.
An important clarification: it is necessary to temper systematically. If you interrupt the procedures for several weeks, then the entire effect of the manipulations performed immediately fades away. And for people who did not have time to qualitatively prepare for swimming in the winter season, doctors forbid even participating in Epiphany bathing – in ice water it is only allowed to wash your face and rinse your hands. Since a sharp temperature drop is extremely harmful for an unprepared body – blood vessels constrict in ice water, blood rushes to the internal organs, and the heart and lungs work in an enhanced mode, which can lead to dizziness as a result.
What to take with you
Those who have definitely decided to test their body for strength and are confident in it are advised to take non-slip shoes for descending into the hole, a large towel, change of clothes, a hat and a thermos with hot tea.
How to dive properly
Before bathing, doctors advise to do a warm-up and, slowly, undress to the waist so that the body gradually gets used to the cold. Lastly, you should take off your shoes and stand on the snow for a while, moving your arms and legs in parallel.
In the hole without harm to health, you can stay no more than two minutes. And in no case do not dive upside down – its sharp cooling can cause a spasm of the cerebral vessels. For any person, the head and neck are the main source of heat generation. Therefore, in the case of head diving, hypothermia sets in very quickly.
Any diving into the icy water is strictly prohibited – this is a huge risk. You need to go into the water, gradually plunging. Thus, you will have time to understand your own feelings: if you feel the slightest discomfort, then you should not continue the dive.
After leaving the water, first of all quickly dry yourself with a towel, put on a hat, warm socks and shoes. After that, drink pre-prepared hot tea.
Separately, it is worth noting that you should not drink alcohol before bathing in ice water – it creates an erroneous sensation of warmth, while in fact your peripheral vessels dilate, thereby increasing body cooling.
Plunge only in specially equipped places for this.
Technically, you can make an impromptu ice hole anywhere, but this does not mean at all that you can dip there. Usually, the places for ice holes in which you can swim are officially established by the state. The font must be equipped according to all the rules: it must have a bottom, an under-ice fence around the perimeter, handrails and stairs for entry. With a powerful current, a font without an under-ice fence will pull you under the ice in a matter of seconds. There must also be lighting of the hole and approaches to it.
An important point that cannot be ignored is that when swimming in the hole in the immediate vicinity of you, there should be a person who, in case of unforeseen circumstances, can pull you out of the water in a matter of seconds.
Of course, hardening is very useful: it can be used to mobilize the protective reserves of the body, increase resistance to temperature changes, improve immunity and reduce stress. However, it is necessary to temper gradually, while clearly observing the prescribed rules. In this case, you will not only not harm the body, but also strengthen your health.