Cold water therapy in Cornwall with Mad Water Sports
Cold water therapy is based on the idea of immersing yourself in cold water. This might seem unappealing, especially in the late winter and early spring, when all you would otherwise be doing is lighting the fire and curling up on the sofa. However, cold water therapy has become increasingly popular in recent years. It’s been in the news and is all over the internet, which begs an obvious question: why? Is it just a celebrity-led bandwagon that followers are jumping on and causing a ‘trend’? Or is it more than that? If so, what is it, what are the benefits, and how can we incorporate it into our own lives to help better our health and wellbeing?
What is cold water therapy?
Cold water therapy is essentially immersing your body in cold water (cooler than 15°C). It can involve taking an ice bath, a cold shower, or even going for a swim outdoors. Here in Cornwall, that would likely mean a frisky dip in the ocean. But before you shiver, cry “Brrr, no thank you!” and write it off, it’s worth noting that you usually only immerse yourself for a few minutes at a time. It’s also worth considering what the upshot could be, that is, how a few brief moments of cold-water immersion could benefit you in the longer term.
What are the benefits of cold water therapy?
There are a number of ways that cold-water immersion has been shown to benefit the body. For those who lead active lifestyles, it can help to reduce muscle pain and stiffness by reducing swelling and inflammation, thus improving recovery time.
Repeated immersion over longer periods may help to lower blood pressure and cholesterol. It may also improve your circulation, which in turn causes white blood cells to circulate more quickly and thus boost your immune system. It’s also believed that cold-water immersion could help to manage stress and anxiety. It could even help people on their journey to weight loss by speeding up their metabolism.
How safe is cold water therapy?
Cold water puts stress on your body. It’s this that is believed to produce many of the positive effects, like boosting your immune system. However, care must be taken to lessen the risk of cold-water shock, arrhythmias and hypothermia. Bupa recommends building up your sessions regularly, which can help your body adapt and acclimatise to the cold and lessen the risk of shock. If you’re unsure, especially if you have an underlying condition that you think could be exacerbated, it is always worth consulting your GP before trying cold-water immersion.
How can I ‘get into’ cold water therapy?
A fantastic way to try cold water therapy, and a great entry to cold-watersports, is paddleboarding.
The beauty of paddleboarding is that almost anybody can do it. No matter your ability, you can enjoy the tranquillity of Cornwall’s waterways. Even for those who aren’t in fantastic shape, it’s a superb entry into watersports, providing a decent cardio workout that will help to build endurance.
Paddleboarding will also, inevitably, lead you to full-blown cold-water immersion! Of course, here in Cornwall, you wouldn’t necessarily want to be paddling in just a pair of boardies. The waterways here, even in the summer, are not always what we would describe as warm! However, with the right equipment and apparel, paddleboarding can be a safe and enjoyable pastime, opening up an option for anybody seeking to reap the benefits associated with cold-water therapy.
So, grab a paddle!
If you’re interested and would like to start exploring Cornwall’s waterways, hidden creeks and winding rivers, then we can help. At Mad Water Sports, we have a superb selection of both hard and inflatable paddleboards to get you started. For those who want to try cold-water immersion, but perhaps don’t want to feel the cold too keenly, we also have a full range of wetsuits to protect you from the worst of the chill. Crucially, to help keep you safe, we also have a superb selection of buoyancy aids.
Even if you own a paddleboard but are looking to upgrade your accessories for the season ahead, we have lots to offer. We have everything from key locks, pouches and cases, to roof racks, dry bags, and even binoculars for those hoping to seek out the local wildlife.