Some winter swimmers in Finland say they crave cold water.
Kai Haapasalo, a public health centre physician, told Yle that he goes for an outdoor swim most days – sometimes even skipping the sauna.
”It gives me euphoria and the swimming has kept me healthy,” he explained of a hobby that can put enthusiasts in a near-hypothermic state.
Various studies have praised the health-boosting qualities of winter swimming, from stress relief and memory improvement to pain relief for arthritis sufferers. Some research also suggests that regular winter swimming can boost the body’s brown fat levels, helping guard against obesity.
But for these benefits to kick in, enthusiasts need to do more than take a quick dip.
”The usual routine is dip, sauna and leave, but it’s actually better to finish with the swim, not sauna,” winter swimming fanatic Haapasalo explained.