Plunge into Finnish fun with avanto swimming

For most people, winter days are about staying in, getting cosy under a blanket and binge-watching Netflix. But for Finns, it's a different story. Finnish winter days often plummet to a teeth-chattering -35°C, leading many to think Finnish winters are merely about survival. But in reality, Finnish winters are filled with fun.

As it turns out, lot's of Finns like getting frosty. Some love the cold so much that they take a dip in freezing water. This act of lunacy is called avanto swimming. Amazingly, avanto swimming is not some counter-culture activity enjoyed by daredevils, adrenaline junkies or people wanting to show off on social media.

It's a popular Finnish pastime enjoyed by old and young alike. Traditionally, people go avanto swimming in frozen lakes before defrosting in a nearby sauna. But in urban areas, there's plenty of stylish spas offering ice swimming alongside the traditional and less extreme range of spa treatments.

Plunging into icy water on a freezing day seems crazy, and in many ways, it is. So you're forgiven for asking, "why the hell would someone do that to themselves?" As it turns out, avanto swimming is a lot of fun and can even be empowering. When you've spent your morning in a freezing lake, handling tight work deadlines and battling through rush hour traffic is easy.

And that’s just one benefit of avanto swimming.

1. Avanto swimming perks you up

Cold water gives you a bigger boost of energy than an oil drum of Red Bull and a side of coffee. It floods your system with feel-good endorphins and oxygen and raises your heart rate, making you feel perky, focused and full of life.

2. Avanto swimming gives you a healthy glow

Going for a chilly swim helps maintain many natural oils on your hair and skin. And for the single men out there, research suggests women find men with healthy skin rather hunky. So give ice swimming a go and enjoy your happy, shiny date night.

3. Avanto swimming keeps you slim

You may even be able to wear your old favourite skinny jeans on your date, as ice swimming is great for weight loss. A cold dip increases your basal metabolic rate, so you burn off more calories after your swim.

4. Avanto swimming keeps you going for longer

Do you feel tired after the gym? Try revitalizing with an icy swim. Bathing in cold water removes lactic acid from your muscles and can reduce inflammation. It also speeds up blood flow, giving cells more oxygen and nutrients. This helps the body recover from exercise in less time, so you can get back to working out with vitality.

So if you're inspired to give avanto swimming a go, be sure to remember these helpful tips. Go with a group. It's safer and more fun.

Dress for the occasion

Wear shoes with plenty of grip, gloves, and a hat to keep your ears and head warm

Pretend you're getting in the bath

No diving. This can cause cold water shock, which will affect your breathing. Change your temperature slowly Wait a few minutes after leaving the sauna or other warm environments before going for a swim. Sudden temperature changes stress the heart.

Think of your ticker

It can be dangerous to go ice swimming with a heart condition. So get your heart checked before trying it.

Once you've got all that out of the way, you're ready to experience avanto swimming with your new group of cold and crazy friends.

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