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This woman starts EVERY DAY with swim in below-freezing water

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By Fiona Jackson via SWNS

A young woman puts her health and happiness down to starting every day with a swim in a -20°C (-4°F) lake- in just her swimsuit.

Elina Mäkinen, 27, has over 1.1 million followers on TikTok intrigued by her mental grit and huge smile as she leaps into freezing water.

The student swims for between two and four minutes in the icy pools each day, with the backdrop of snow-covered Helsinki, Finland.

“Water is usually coldest at 0.2°C, because the water can be minus degrees only if it is salted or flowing," she said.

“So basically the coldest point is after getting up when air is -20°C or colder."

Elina has now been posting videos on her TikTok of her jumping into snow-covered lakes for two years.

“Sometimes it is a real struggle with the pain, but there’s still always the after-swim euphoria," the tax advisor said.

Elina first discovered the joys of the chilly dip when she was only five-years-old when she was taken with her grandpa and brother Antti Mäkinen, 29.

“My grandpa shouted to me to get out and that I'm not supposed to swim in the water," she said.

“We now laugh about the event and he told me he was never scared for my swimming skills but more scared that he had to get in the water as well!

“I was born in December and babies sleep outside in Finland during winter time, so I guess I have liked cold since very early ages.

“Of course I love summertime too, but we also joke a lot with my boyfriend that I hate sweating and cannot tolerate heat at all!”

Swimming in the icy lakes is a tradition in Finland in winter so Elina was acclimatized throughout her childhood, and continued it when she started studying Tax Law at the University of Eastern Finland.

“Going to the sauna and ice was my get-away and time to relax," she said.

“We participated in competitions in ice with my mum and got to know more of ice swimming culture and people around the world.

“I started noticing the mental and physical game is something I really enjoy and decided after the 2014 World Championships to start training for longer distances like 450m and 1000m.”

Her favorite local lake to swim in is the Suuri Vehkalahti in Joensuu, but also likes to hit up spots in Russia while on vacation.

She aims to swim for between two and four minutes every day, but occasionally just braves a quicker dip to wake up her body but not start shivering.

She opts for a longer swim, up to 17 minutes, once a month just to maintain her ability to swim in extreme conditions.

“I used to tie a rope around my hips so that I could swim still, but the only problem was that the rope froze to the stairs so I could not get the knot open," Elina said.

“It was -30 degrees outside and I managed to get off my belt and went to sauna to warm up myself.

“I had to pour warm water on the rope to open it after a few hours.

“After that I learned to be extra careful and always have plan B!”

She loves being in nature, but despite her calm exterior she does want people to know that bearing the cold is not easy.

“I love getting out of comfort zone, so every time I least feel like I want to get in, that is the time I push myself to go out for the swim,” she said.

Her secret to bearing the arctic temperatures is both not thinking about the cold, but also staying conscious of how her body feels.

She posted her first ice swimming TikTok in 2019, which quickly attracted a legion of curious followers.

While filming one of her early videos, a police officer spotted her in the water, climbed down to the river just to check that she was ok.

“It was super hard for me to take videos in public places after that!” she said.

“I hope that I can encourage people to try ice swimming but at the same time want to remind to take carefully and be safe.

“I usually like to take my friends out for a swim when I see them, so they can't really avoid my brainwashing.

“Strangers are then divided to the people saying I’m crazy and people who get inspired to do something crazy.

“Go out of your comfort zone and take time on concentrating yourself and how you feel.”

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