Winter swimming

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**Winter Swimming Traditions**

– Ice swimming linked with sauna traditions in Northern Europe
– Popular in Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Russia, and Sweden
– Stress relief and cooling off after sauna
– Avantouinti Society in Finland
– Ice swimming connected with sauna and Banya traditions in Northern Europe
– Cultural significance in Nordic countries

**Global Winter Swimming Locations**

– Oldest Winter Swimming club in the world in New South Wales, Australia
– Brighton Icebergers and Shrinkäge swim group in Victoria, Australia
– Ice swimming locations in Oceania, Western Europe, Central Europe, Eastern Europe, Russia, North America, and Asia
– Famous ice swimming locations in the UK
Swimming spots in Helsinki and Tampere in Finland
– Winter swimming races and informal groups in various countries

**Celebration of Epiphany and Ice Swimming Traditions**

– Baptism of Jesus in River Jordan celebrated with ice swimming
– Ice holes cut in form of Christian cross for Epiphany celebrations
– Ice swimming traditions in Eastern Europe and Russia
– Epiphany observed on 19 January in Russian Orthodox Church
– Epiphany celebrated in Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, and Montenegro
– Walrus Clubs practicing ice swimming in winter

**Health Risks and Benefits of Winter Swimming**

– Cold shock response and cardiac arrest common causes of death
– Winter swimming dangerous for individuals with certain health conditions
– Hypothermia risk increases in sub-zero water
– Experienced winter swimmers have greater resistance to cold shock response
– Winter swimming improves general well-being and antioxidative protection
– Changes in thermal homeostasis due to cold water immersions

**Winter Swimming Events and Organizations**

Polar bear clubs in Canada, US go outdoor bathing in winter
– Winter swimming organizations in China with 200,000+ members
– Annual winter swimming festivals in Jinan, China since 2014
Polar bear plunges conducted as charity fundraisers
– International Ice Swimming Association and International Winter Swimming Association
– Various winter swimming events, championships, and competitions worldwide

Winter swimming (Wikipedia)

Winter swimming is the activity of swimming during the winter season, typically in outdoor locations (open water swimming) or in unheated pools or lidos. In colder countries, it may be synonymous with ice swimming, when the water is frozen over. This requires either breaking the ice or entering where a spring prevents the formation of ice. It may also be simulated by a pool of water at 0 °C (32 °F), the temperature at which water freezes.

Ice swimming in Finland
Two Russian women about to swim in a frozen lake

In Nordic countries of Europe as well in Eastern Europe (e.g. Ukraine, Russia, and Baltic countries), winter swimming is a traditional cultural element and part of religious celebrations like the Epiphany in Eastern Orthodoxy.[citation needed]

Competitions for winter swimming also exist. Many winter swimmers swim with standard swimsuits rather than with wetsuits or other thermal protection. Famous ice and winter swimmers include Lynne Cox and Lewis Gordon Pugh.

Also, many locations in North America and Europe hold polar bear plunges, commonly to celebrate New Year's Day, although participants are not expected to swim and generally most do not swim.

International winter and ice swimming competitions take place around the world with two of the larger organizing bodies being the International Ice Swimming Association and the International Winter Swimming Association. Both organizations have similar competition guidelines including water temperatures typically below 5 °C (41 °F), a 25 metres (82 ft) pool often cut out of frozen bodies of water, and swimmers limited to goggles, one standard bathing suit, and one latex or silicone cap - neoprene is not allowed.

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