The Health Benefits of Swimming in Ice Cold Colorado Rivers
(Cover photo: The Colorado River flowing through Glenwood Springs, Colorado. Photo credit: Lpolar)
Colorado is alive with winter sports. The slopes are open, and the resorts are bustling with ski bunnies from all across the globe. Just like Colorado boast some of the best white water rafting and kayaking in the spring and summer, our winters are no less extraordinary. But, with the dropping temperatures, our rivers are just too wild and cold for your family adventures so while we wait for our 2016 rafting season to begin, we encourage you not to forget about our rivers while you’re swishing down the slopes. Yes, the ground is covered in snow, but a quick dip in the freezing water will do a body good.
Get the thrills of white water rafting in the off season
“Going swimming” isn’t uncommon on our Colorado rafting and kayaking trips. From beginners to elite paddlers, the rivers are unpredictable, and now and then someone gets flipped out of the raft. But, don’t fear, our guides and your fellow paddlers are all there to pull you safely back into the raft. Whether you stay in the raft or go for a quick swim, white water rafting is adrenaline pumping fun. But, just because the DVK team is off for the season, doesn’t mean you can’t get your heart pumping and your endorphins flowing during the off season. All you have to do is take a plunge into some cold river water. Let us explain.
Winter swimming is a natural high
The thrill of rafting can be an addicting feeling. When your adrenaline starts pumping, your body releases endorphins giving you a natural high that many keep chasing in the off season. You can experience the same rush of endorphins by jumping into an ice cold river.
Winter swimming will boost your immune system
The first plunge is a shock to your system, but it’s a shock that will do you good. Shocking your system may seem like a bad idea, at first, but it’s like conducting a fire drill for your immune system to keep it on it’s toes and to practice its defenses.
Winter swimming will increase your circulation
When you are submerged in the cold river, your heart will immediately start pumping blood to your organs, increasing your circulation and flushing out your circulation system. If you follow your swim by a little shot of whiskey and a warm blanket, you are giving your heart a workout, possibly improving your circulation system.
Winter swimming will burn more calories
And, now to everyone’s favorite reason for taking a Polar Bear Plunge: weight loss! In cold temperatures, your body is working extra hard to fight the cold, which means that you are burning more calories from your swim that if you were swimming in a heated pool, or in the spring and summertime.
Don’t go winter swimming alone
Being too cold is always a risk you take when you brave the cold rivers in the winter. Make sure you never head out alone, stay close to the shore and listen to your body. After the initial cold shock, you may start to feel great again as blood and endorphins pump through your body. However, don’t get overconfident. Your body temperature may start to drop again quickly, and you don’t want to be too far from shore if that happens. A quick plunge in a cold river is all you need to get all the thrills and euphoric rush of white water rafting or kayaking.
So, get all the thrills of white water rafting by taking a quick plunge in one of our many Colorado rivers this winter.