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Ice swimming, sometimes referred to as cold swimming among other monikers, is growing in popularity. You might have watched Chris Hemsworth challenge himself to an icy swim in “Limitless with Chris Hemsworth,” while Elina Mäkinen, a well-known Finnish winter swimmer and international TikTok sensation, has often spoken about the benefits of the activity. She encourages others to “tap into sisu,” a unique Finnish form of courage and resilience, and feel the power of the cold. In an upcoming documentary, “Kylmä” (Into the Cold) she was spotlighted as the first Finn to swim an ice mile in the water below 41 degrees Fahrenheit.
Finland is one of the most popular places for ice swimming, with many taking a dip for the physical and mental health benefits which include a burst of feel-good hormones, enhanced blood circulation, a boosted immune system, and a bigger calorie burn. In fact, some say it might be why the country is frequently ranked among the world’s happiest. If you’d like to try it, Elina has shared some of her favorite spots for ice swimming in her home country, and there are quite a few others to consider as well.