I am at a glorious yoga retreat in the Sabine Hills in Italy, but today the weather is cold and threatening rain. Yesterday I spent my free time walking, lazing around in the sun reading and walking to the local village to stock up on dark chocolate for the group. Today, with the glum weather I would have to find other ways to occupy my time.
Then it occurred to me that I could go swimming in the outdoor pool. Gathered at breakfast, the rest of the retreat group questioned my sensibilities – wouldn’t swimming make more sense on a nice day? However, I had previously seen on television that there are a plethora of benefits to swimming in cold water. In particular, my good friend the television had taught me that it was a good cure for depression.
No one quite believed I was going to do it, but off I toddled in my swimsuit and goggles. To call what I did swimming is probably a bit of a stretch. It took me about ten minutes to fully get into the pool as I would let each part of my body acclimatise before daring to get another part of my body wet. However, once I had been in the pool for a few minutes, the raging shock of my body wore off and it became more comfortable. The pool here is tiny – about three or four strokes long – and I only did about ten lengths in total, stopping in between each one to catch my breath from the coldness. After that I decided to dash back to my room and jump into a warm shower.
Now that I have put myself through it, I have decided to do a little research into these supposed benefits of cold water swimming.