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SwimRun Rheinsberg

SwimRun is a sport for the whole year

Swimming and running in nature bring benefits, especially in winter

"Fish swims, bird flies, man runs!" That's how Emil Zatopek saw it. But swimming and flying are not "inhuman" exclusive rights. The combination of running with the "flying" change to gliding through the cool water gives endurance athletes that special kick. We are serious about the "cool" water. The health and performance-enhancing effects of cold water treatments - whether showers, ice baths or swimming in natural waters - have long been the focus of scientific research.

SwimRun: Man swimming on ice in front of houses © SCC EVENTS / privat

As wonderful as the experience of ice swimming is, it is also dangerous. This very special experience is really only reserved for specialists.  SCC EVENTS / privat

SwimRun in winter scores with positive effects

Running icon Paula Radcliffe and football world champion Per Mertesacker ("three-day ice tonne") are examples of the combination of high performance and cold water application. Although the much-cited strengthening of the immune system is not covered by objective measurement parameters, regular cold stimuli score points with positive effects on health and performance-related body reactions. First and foremost is the training effect on the vascular system.

The repeated temperature change during the SwimRun, especially in winter, optimises the body's own heat regulation, resulting in a better blood supply to the working muscles at any outside temperature. As an immediate reaction to the cold shock, the autonomic nervous system ("vegetative system") constricts the blood vessels in the peripheral regions of the body to ensure the supply of blood to the vital organs.

SwimRun: Swimmer in open water in winter  © SCC EVENTS / privat

Those who swim in open waters in winter usually have them to themselves and should also be aware of the dangers - it is better to start as a team.  SCC EVENTS / privat

Cold water revs up the body

The vegetative system reacts to the warming muscle work, the temperature change when leaving the water and the transition to running by adequately regulating the peripheral vascularisation in order to achieve the best possible oxygen and nutrient supply to the muscles. These control processes run faster and more economically in trained cold users. Individual frost resilience, muscle performance and adaptability to temperature fluctuations increase. Research is also investigating further benefits. These include the conversion of white depot fat into "lean" brown fat, which puts its many mitochondria (cellular power stations) at the service of fat-consuming heat production.

There is also evidence of an improved response to the blood sugar-regulating pancreatic hormone insulin and the increased formation of antioxidant substances, i.e. substances that neutralise cell-damaging metabolic products (free radicals) such as glutathione. The same applies to the minimisation of training-induced inflammation in the muscles, which counteracts the development of muscle catabolism.

SwimRun: Male swimmer sits on a sheet of ice surrounded by forest © SCC EVENTS / privat

Frozen waters are only suitable for very experienced SwimRunners, special care is required here.  SCC EVENTS / privat

A cold shower, ice bath or SwimRun are good for the soul

Even if some of the favourable effects of cold (boosting the immune system) are not sufficiently proven and the cardiovascular risks must be taken into account, the current state of knowledge paints a positive picture. One final factor should be emphasised: personal well-being, my "anecdotal evidence". The benefits of a cold shower, ice bath or SwimRun in winter are largely determined by my attitude and feelings. The placebo effect, often unfairly criticised, provides valuable services here. Those who enjoy cold stimuli will benefit in many ways.