Winter swimming improves general well-being

Int J Circumpolar Health. 2004 May;63(2):140-4. doi: 10.3402/ijch.v63i2.17700.


Objectives: This study deals with the effects of regular winter swimming on the mood of the swimmers.

Methods: Profile of Mood State (POMS) and OIRE questionnaires were completed before (October) and after (January) the four-month winter swimming period.

Results: In the beginning, there were no significant differences in the mood states and subjective feelings between the swimmers and the controls. The swimmers had more diseases (about 50%) diagnosed by a physician. Tension, fatigue, memory and mood negative state points in the swimmers significantly decreased with the duration of the swimming period. After four months, the swimmers felt themselves to be more energetic, active and brisk than the controls. Vigour-activity scores were significantly greater (p < 0.05). All swimmers who suffered from rheumatism, fibromyalgia, or asthma, reported that winter swimming had relieved pains.

Conclusion: Improvement of general well-being is thus a benefit induced by regular winter swimming.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affect*
  • Aged
  • Cold Temperature*
  • Female
  • Finland
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Seasons*
  • Swimming / psychology