On a pretty miserable, cold November afternoon, we took ourselves to Hovås, just outside Gothenburg. Elisabeth and Johan from FLD Team were wrapped in warm clothing and remained on the beach while our more hardcore friends, the craft consultants Katarina Karlsson and Maria Claesson chatting away, changed into swimsuits and defied the weather by gradually immersing themselves into freezing cold water.
For Maria and Katarina cold-water swimming is a normal part of healthy living.
“Take a plunge and you’re good for several hours” says Katarina.
The process seems completely uncomplicated, there’s no screaming, no hyperventilation, or no sauna afterwards for that matter.
“It’s like a reboot, almost like a yoga session, therapeutic” Maria says. “And afterwards your head is clear”. Paradoxically she generally does not swim in the summertime, but prefer to be in the water winter time.
Katarina says she used to be a “badkruka” (”bathing coward”). It was during lockdowns in 2020 she became a cold water swimmer enthusiast to cope with the pandemic.
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger? Cold water swimming is a simple, low-cost hobby with minimal gear needs. And the effects of it has been studied widely. The cold is not just beneficial for your physical health, but also for your mental wellbeing. Other good effects involves boosting your immune system, improved circulation AND making your body and mind stronger.
Winter swimming can shock your system and is not recommended for people with high blood pressure, heart- or respiratory conditions.