A major scientific review published in a peer-reviewed journal suggests that cold water soaks may reduce ‘bad’ body fat in men, lowering the risk of diseases such as diabetes. . International Journal of Circumpolar Health.

The authors say that many of the 104 studies they analyzed showed significant effects of cold-water swimming, including “good” fats that help burn calories. This could help prevent obesity and cardiovascular disease, they add.

However, the review was overall inconclusive about the health benefits of cold water bathing, an increasingly popular hobby.

Many of the available studies had small numbers of participants, often of the same sex, with different water temperature and salinity. Furthermore, according to a team of scientific experts from the Norwegian Arctic University UiT and the University Hospital of Northern Norway, it is unclear whether winter swimmers are naturally healthy.

“It is clear from this review that there is growing scientific support that spontaneous exposure to cold water can have beneficial health effects,” said UiT lead author James Mercer. increase.

“Many of the studies have demonstrated significant effects of cold-water immersion on various physiological and biochemical parameters. However, the question of whether these are beneficial to health is difficult to assess.

“Based on the results of this review, many of the health benefits of regular cold exposure are not causal. It may be explained by other factors, such as social interactions, positive emotions, and mentality.

“Without further definitive research, this topic will continue to be a subject of debate.”

Weight loss, improved mental health, and increased libido are among the many health and well-being claims made by devotees of regular cold-water immersion or stemming from anecdotal cases.

This activity, which takes many forms, including swimming in cold water during the winter months, is of increasing interest around the world.

The primary objective of this review was to determine whether voluntary exposure to cold water affects human health. Methodology included an in-depth search of the scientific literature.

Studies in which participants wore wetsuits, were accidentally submerged in cold water, or had water temperatures above 20 degrees Celsius were excluded from the review.

Topics of research included in the review included inflammation, adipose tissue, blood circulation, the immune system, and oxidative stress.

Immersion in cold water can wreak havoc on your body, causing shock reactions such as an increased heart rate.

Some studies have provided evidence that cardiovascular risk factors were indeed improved in cold-adapted swimmers. I’m here.

This review provided insight into the positive association between cold water swimming and brown adipose tissue (BAT), a type of ‘good’ body fat that is activated by cold. BAT burns calories to maintain body temperature, unlike “bad” white fat, which stores energy.

Cold exposure in water or air also appears to increase the production of adiponectin by adipose tissue. This protein plays an important role in protecting against insulin resistance, diabetes, and other diseases.

A review found that repeated cold-water immersion during winter significantly increased insulin sensitivity and decreased insulin levels. It was intended for both inexperienced and experienced swimmers.

However, the authors note that the profiles of the swimmers who participated in the study varied. They ranged from elite swimmers and established winter bathers to those with no winter swimming experience. It varied.

Others weren’t strictly ice baths, but cold water soaks as a post-workout treatment.

Education is also needed about the health risks associated with immersion in ice water, the authors say. These include the consequences of hypothermia, and heart and lung problems often associated with cold shock.

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Journal reference:

10.1080/22423982.2022.2111789



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