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Why swimming in cold water could be good for men’s health

“From this review, it is clear that there is increasing scientific support that voluntary exposure to cold water may have some beneficial health effects."


(Photo by Carlos Jamaica via Pexels)

By Pol Allingham via SWNS

Cold water swims could cut men’s "bad" body fats, suggests new research.

A review of more than 100 previous studies found cold exposure in water or air appears to increase “good” body fats otherwise known as brown adipose tissue (BAT).

However scientists struggled to find a direct link between cold water immersion and the health benefits touted for the growing trend.

BAT is good because it burns calories to maintain body temperature, unlike “bad” white fat which stores the energy up.

Experts say the increasingly popular hobby's impacts on fats could prevent obesity and cardiovascular disease.

Dunking yourself in icy water during the winter months has also been found to reduce the risk of diabetes by significantly increasing insulin sensitivity and decreased insulin concentration.

Adiponectin is produced by BAT, and it plays a vital role in protecting against insulin resistance, diabetes, and other diseases.

Cold water dips' impact on insulin worked for experienced and inexperienced swimmers alike.

Whether swimming in cold water during the winter or post-exercise icy dips, cold-water immersion fans have claimed multiple health and wellbeing benefits including weight loss, better mental health, and increased libido.

However ultimately the study published in the International Journal of Circumpolar Health, found few concrete health benefits.

They discovered evidence swimmers who have adapted to the cold have fewer cardiovascular risk factors, but some studies suggested the workload on the heart is actually increased.

The study was carried out by UiT The Arctic University of Norway and University Hospital of North Norway

“From this review, it is clear that there is increasing scientific support that voluntary exposure to cold water may have some beneficial health effects," said lead author James Mercer, from UiT.

“Many of the studies demonstrated significant effects of cold-water immersion on various physiological and biochemical parameters.

"But the question as to whether these are beneficial or not for health is difficult to assess.

“Based on the results from this review, many of the health benefits claimed from regular cold exposure may not be causal.

"Instead, they may be explained by other factors including an active lifestyle, trained stress handling, social interactions, as well as a positive mindset.

“Without further conclusive studies, the topic will continue to be a subject of debate.”

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