NL residents turning to icy outdoor swims with gyms, fitness centers closed
With gyms and fitness centers closed due to the coronavirus lockdown, Netherlands residents increasingly turn to swimming in open water to get their exercise in. Despite the water being icy cold in mid-winter. Swimming club De Grindgatzwemmers in Maastricht noticed a definite uptick in members, 1Limburg reports.
Members of this club swim in gravel holes and lakes in and around Maastricht a few times per week. They cover 1,500 to 3,000 meters in a wetsuit and then take a dip without a suit. "It's wonderful, the nature, the water. It's super nice when you get out of the water. You feel fit all day," member Luc Jacobs said to the broadcaster.
According to Wouter van Marken Lichtenbelt, professor of Nutrition and Movement Sciences, swimming in cold water can have health benefits, but usually only after long exposure. "Studies in which people spend six hours in a room where it is slightly colder than they are used to show good results," Van Marken Lichtenbelt said to the broadcaster. "The research shows good health effects for both your metabolism and your sugar balance.'
Most people can only stand the cold water for a few minutes at a time. It is unclear whether there are any health benefits from that. But Van Marken Lichtenbelt pointed out that all exercise is good for you. "Swimming is a very good exercise anyway, even if you only do it for a few minutes. All the exercise you can get adds up. People coming out of the cold water say they get a boost, pick-me-up. It's good for your mental well-being and you feel fit all day."