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Wild Swimming: The Scandi Secret to Good Health

Wild Swimming: The Scandi Secret to Good Health
5 June 2024 Samantha Anderson
Contura Wild Swimming: The Scandi Secret to Good Health RoosterPR

Scandi lifestyle expert, Catharina Björkman, shares guide to the mental and physical benefits of wild swimming.

The popularity of wild swimming, often dubbed the original cold water therapy because of its far reaching benefits, shows no signs of waning. Scandi lifestyle expert at Contura, Catharina Björkman – no stranger to the benefits of wild swimming – believes Brits should make the most of the ample opportunities living in the UK affords to enjoy this activity.

Catharina says: “Wild swimming is very common in Scandinavian countries – we’ve long understood the mental and physical benefits that come with being completely immersed in cold water and connecting with the natural world.

“The simple act of swimming in the wild – as opposed to a chlorinated swimming pool – is extremely freeing. – it’s the perfect antidote to today’s busy, ‘always on’ society. It offers a rare opportunity to completely disconnect from the modern world and instead be at one with nature.

“The cold temperature of the water when swimming in the wild brings added benefits too. In fact, in order to overcome the cold, you have no choice but to focus and be totally present in the moment.

“Whilst wild swimming is growing in popularity in Britain, there’s an assumption that you have to live near the coast in order to access wild swimming spots which couldn’t be further from the truth. Whilst wild swimming in the sea is a joy, Brits are lucky enough to have access to many rivers and lakes that make for the perfect cold plunge.”

Read on for Catharina’s guide to the benefits and joys of wild swimming…

The blue mind

Research shows that simply being near water is enough to invoke ‘the blue mind’ – the mildly meditative state we fall into when near, in, on, or under water and which positively impacts both mind and body. This is the antidote to the anxious, over-connected and over-stimulated state, ‘the red mind’, that is so common thanks to our modern lifestyles.

The blue mind helps us to reduce stress by lowering levels of the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline, calming us mentally and physically. Engaging with the natural world in this way also produces feelings of tranquillity and awe which can help to ease anxiety and improve mood as well as help to build empathy, resilience, and to promote pro-social behaviour.

So, even before you’ve taken to the water, you will be enjoying mental and physical health benefits.

Boosts physical health

Swimming is undoubtedly a great form of exercise, no matter your age, and can be as low impact as you want. It supports cardiovascular health and bone health whilst producing a natural high. In fact, regular swimming can reduce the risk of chronic illnesses such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke.

That said, being immersed in cold water brings added benefits such as kicking the body’s immune system into overdrive which causes more white blood cells and antioxidants – that help the body fight infection and other diseases – to be released.

Also, as a means of conserving body heat, blood flows away from the skin’s surface towards the organs. This stimulates the lymphatic system, aka the body’s sewerage system, which is responsible for flushing out waste matter and boosting circulation.

Supercharges mental health

The act of being submerged in cold water boosts dopamine levels, increases the release of endorphins – aka the happy hormones – and increase alertness, clarity and energy levels.

It also produces feelings of euphoria and creates a sense of achievement, helping us to build confidence and mental resilience that translates to all areas of our life which is particularly useful when it comes to dealing with everyday stressors.

Even if you don’t have time to regularly visit a wild swimming spot, you can enjoy many of the benefits of a cold plunge by recreating the sensation with a cold shower. Whilst it may take a little getting used to, it will leave you feeling refreshed, alert and ready to take on the day.

Improves sleep

It’s no secret that in order to benefit from a good night’s sleep, we need to feel physically tired and ready for bed but the activity itself can also impact how well we sleep. For example, strenuous physical activity like a HIIT or spin class can stimulate your nervous system and raise your heart rate making it difficult to fall asleep. On the other hand, the physiological effects and feelings of calm and relaxation produced by the combination of low impact exercise and immersion in cold water can contribute to a good night’s sleep.

This is because in order to enjoy quality and quantity of sleep, our body has to be in a state of complete relaxation.

This doesn’t mean you have to enjoy a wild swim right before bed – the benefits of the activity don’t dissipate upon leaving the water but are long-lasting meaning you will continue to reap the physical and mental rewards of the activity throughout the day.

Creates community

At its core wild swimming is a social hobby – there’s something truly magical about being part of a community sharing the joys of wild swimming together.

Tackling a new activity or hobby is a great way to build connections, make friends and strengthen bonds with loved ones. Plus, it’s much easier and safer to build confidence in the water under the guidance of more seasoned swimmers.

All you need is a swimsuit or trunks to get started! And spring/summer is the perfect time to dip your toe into the water and give this wellness boosting activity a go as, whilst the water will still be cool, the typically warmer climes offer a more welcome setting than autumn/winter.

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Notes to editors:

  • Rooster PR will coordinate comment, interview and profile opportunities for Contura UK Country Manager, Phil Wood.
  • The Contura PR team will also arrange visits to the nearest Contura Design Centre dealerships or the Contura showroom in Doncaster to see the product range.

For further press information, please contact:
Tilly Everard | Elsa Findlay | Julie Aguilera
T: +44 (0)203 440 8930
E: [email protected]

About Contura:
Contura is Europe’s leading manufacturer of wood burning stoves, offering an extensive range of classic and contemporary wood burners; from traditional insert stoves suitable for existing fireplaces, to freestanding statement models made with innovative materials such as soapstone.

Starting at £1,495, Contura stoves are premium yet affordable. Award winning, timeless Swedish design means the products complement or enhance any style of home, whilst also offering outstanding performance, maximum efficiency, practicality and ease of use.

Designed and assembled at the factory located in Markaryd, Sweden, and manufactured to the highest standards, Contura stoves are highly energy efficient, offering powerful convection, superior combustion technology and clean burning systems. All Contura stoves are DEFRA Clean Air Act exempt and thus approved for use in Smoke Control Areas.

Contura stoves can be purchased through a network of 165 independent retailers nationwide.

Contura is part of the NIBE group, a Swedish manufacturing company producing world class solutions in sustainable energy across Europe, North America, Asia and Australia.

Contura is a founding member of the Stove Industry Association (SIA) in the UK.

Contura is a proud supporter of Eden Reforestation Projects’ efforts to restore and monitor over 241,150 hectares of land, creating jobs to support local communities and the environment in the long-term. Since 2018, Contura has funded the planting of over 170,000 trees.

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