Ice Swimming in Russia

Despite temperatures below zero, thousands of Russians plunge into cold water regularly in so-called ice swimming clubs. They claim that mental preparation is half the battle.

With over 40 countries having branches of the International Ice Swimming Association, it is clearly becoming a popular sport, offering a dose of adrenaline and adventure.
"Usually, I feel fantastic. I get a huge buzz ... a sense of elation, and I just want to do it again. I definitely have a sense of energy, a sense of life, a sense of purpose. It's a definite mood-lifter, no question," Campbell said.
In addition to the adrenaline rush, early studies suggest that cold-water swimming could be a treatment for depression, as it activates the sympathetic nervous system and increases blood levels of noradrenaline and beta-endorphin, which play an important role in the functioning of the heart.
Winter swimming in Russia is a part of the Russian celebration of Epiphany (January 19th). It is a very famous Russian tradition.

In Russian, it is called baptized swimming . On this day, some people in Russia bathe in ice holes. They bathe in ice-cold water, despite the cold.
The priests sanctify the water in the rivers, in the lakes, and people believe that such water, the holy water, brings health: the health of the body and the health of the soul.
Prorub – it is a hole, a special hole which is made in the ice. People cut through the ice,
in order to take water or to swim. 
What do you think about this tradition? Would you ever try it?
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