By Niamh Ryan
TAKING a dip in the icy sea over the New Year period might seem daft, but those who braved the Med for a refreshing 2022 baptism could well have a head start health-wise.
Cold-water swimming has been gaining significant popularity as a pastime over the last few years, particularly in the UK and Ireland, with many groups established and game for braving an chilly swim all year round.
For those of us based in southern Spain, we have less excuses to rule out the option.
The costas offer the perfect location to try out this seemingly loco activity.
The relatively warm, clement seas here are paradise in comparison to the freezing waters of northern Europe! (has anyone swam in the Baltic), so go on, dip in a toe.
The health benefits of cold-water swimming have long been known going back to the Victorians, but the exact benefits were guesswork.
Science is actually still in the early stages of understanding how it affects the human body, but the positive impact from studies already undertaken are mind-blowing.
Glowing skin, increased tolerance to stress, improved circulation, higher libido and a better burning of calories are among the benefits.
Then there is the knock on effect of boosted self-esteem and overall mental health, decreased inflammation and quicker muscle recovery post-exercise.
It is also said to alleviate symptoms linked to women going through menopause.
So don your swimsuit and make a run for it.
For some expert tips on how to get started and the safety issues to consider before getting started, check out the UK- based website, www.outdoorswimmingsociety.com.