The Dangers of Drinking and Swimming Cold Water

The Dangers of Drinking and Swimming Cold Water

Proper hydration is essential for working efficiently and your complete health. Water is the best fluid resource for the body to drink since it makes up around 65% of your body. It performs many substantial purposes, namely, waste disposal, regulation of body temperature, and joint lubrication. It additionally transmits hormones and nutrients to your organs through your blood and functions a role in recovering injuries.

When you don't drink enough water, you may get dehydrated. This implies your body needs more liquid to work appropriately. 

Your urine can be a pointer in case you're dehydrated. If it is colorless or light yellow, you are adequately hydrated. If your urine is a dull yellow or golden shading, you might be dehydrated. 

Different signs can indicate you might be dehydrated. They include: 

  • Confusion
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Dry mouth
  • Extreme thirst
  • Headache
  • Little or no urine
  • No tears when crying
  • Sleepiness or fatigue
  • Urine that is darker than usual

On the other hand, water is the fluids of all known living organisms, and it is one of the best sources of recreation. Few satisfy your pleasure, but swimming is recognized to be exceptional. It is the fourth most popular activity in the United States. 

Swimming has been known as the ideal exercise. It is perfect for your physical and mental health. You may have heard that experts suggest adults get 150 minutes of moderate activity or 75 minutes of powerful activity every week. It turns out you can get the entirety of the advantages of a high-impact exercise with no harmful effect on joints, and it is the only activity that can be done at any age, at any ability.

There are incredible benefits you can get out of swimming. They are as follows below:

  • Improves muscle definition and strength
  • Build up bone mass
  • It helps you stay flexible
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Burns calories
  • Can improve exercise-induced asthma
  • Lowers stress and depression
  • It can make you smarter
  • May lengthen your life

Indeed, there are thousands of benefits of water, may it be consumed or enjoyed for recreation. To add, we even have specifications on how we like our water, warm or cold?

A couple of debates raging for years over what is the right temperature for optimum hydration. More so, there are several notions about swimming in cold water. To emphasize, there are severe dangers in drinking and swimming in cold water. This matter is often overlooked. Thereby, it is but fitting to highlight the dangers. Let us dive into it!

The Dangers of Cold Water


Facts on drinking cold water

  • When you have strenuous exercise and feeling overheated; it is a great post-workout drink; You can lose weight more effectively.
  • A study found out that drinking cold water can cause or increase your risk of getting a headache.
  • Studies have revealed that drinking cold water can make the mucus in your sinuses thicker, and in this manner, more complicated to pass.

There is nothing entirely like a glass of ice water to quench thirst during summer or gulp up right after returning from work.

Despite that, most people do not realize that the temperature of the water you are getting is additionally significant. Many people do not know the truth that drinking cold water can carry out more dangers than good. Optimal hydration must still be observed. Listed below are the risks of drinking cold water that impacts your health.

Causes Constipation

Consistent drinking of cold water can result in constipation. When you drink cold water, the food sets and solidifies when going through the body. The digestive organs additionally contract, which is one of the main reasons for constipation. It has been investigated that drinking water that is at room temperature is necessary for the digestive process.

Triggers Sore Throat

Similarly, as a cold winter's day can give you a runny nose and congest your sinuses, super cold water makes a similar physical reaction. As such, your body makes bodily fluid (mucus)  as a natural humidifier to warm any ingested cold air or fluid. The thing that matters is that this physical reaction is unnecessary on account of cold water, and it brings about additional bodily fluid (mucus)  piling up in your pipes, therefore making your throat sore.

Lowers Heart Rate

As per clinical studies, drinking cold water lowers heart rate and triggers the nerve that controls the body's involuntary functions. This is called the vagus nerve. The nerve is additionally an essential part of the nervous system. As the vagus nerve is directly influenced by the low temperature of the water, the heart rate, in the long run, eases back down. That is, as an emergency measure, your heart rate reduces back down until your body temperature arrives at balance indeed. This isn't excessively useful for the heart as it can prompt other heart-related issues.

Prevents Fat Breakdown

Drinking cold water right after a meal impacts the breakdown of fat. This is because cold temperatures in the body cause fats to solidify and harden, making them harder for the body to digest. Regardless of whether you drink room temperature water, make sure that you wait for 30 minutes after a meal before drinking water to get the optimal benefits.

Should We Drink Warm or Hot Water Instead?

The Dangers of Drinking and Swimming Cold Water

As listed above, it turns out that drinking cold water may quench your thirst, especially in a dry, hot season, it has severe negative health impacts.

That being said, drinking warm or hot water is your top option! It does come with one major drawback, though, the taste. However, there are ways to make your water tasty. With that bit of issue, several significant benefits that warm or hot water can affect in your body system:

  •  Your digestion significantly will turn out to be more effective because of the natural digestive enzymes that warm water stimulates. 
  • You will hydrate yourself significantly faster every time you taste warm water. 
  •  Warm water makes your blood purer and cleaner. 
  •  Boosts your body’s natural detoxification processes.
  • Stimulates the blood flow to your digestive organs and helps with preventing heartburn and constipation.
  •  Switching to warm water has decreased sugar cravings, helping you keep up a healthy weight.
  • Drinking warm water has proved to help fight particular kinds of pain, like menstrual spasms, headaches, joint pains, and even muscle sprains, by expanding blood flow to tissues.

When is the best time to drink warm water?

The ideal time to drink warm water is when you get up first thing in the morning. This aids with kicking start your digestion, so it works at optimal levels for the day. It is likewise a smart idea to drink warm liquids with your meals as this aids with keeping everything liquid and secures your internal organs. Warm water additionally functions to build blood flow and enhance overall circulation.


Facts on swimming cold water

  • About 20 percent of the individuals who fall into cold water die in the first minute of submersion because of cold water shock.
  • Even strong swimmers will lose muscle control in around 10 minutes.
  • Body heat can be lost 25 times quicker in cold water than in chilly air.

Swimming is not just a fun-filled activity to indulge in but with proven health benefits too. A couple of years back, United States Masters Swimming released a public statement reminding those with an active lifestyle that swimming can be a thorough, powerful wellness exercise.

There are safety considerations for any sport or recreation. One that includes submerging yourself in cold water without a wetsuit or appropriate safety equipment and precautions likely to be fatal. Below are serious dangers when immersing in cold water, something to be aware of:

Unexpected Drowning

With minimal cases, immersion in cold water is instantly dangerous for anybody not wearing thermal protection like a wetsuit or drysuit. 
When cold water comes in contact with your skin, the cold shock causes a quick loss of breathing control. The outcome is an exceptionally great danger of unexpected drowning - regardless of whether the water is calm and you know how to swim. The threat is much higher if the water is harsh. Inability to manage your breathing with wave splash highly intensifies the risk of breathing in water.

Gradual Drowning

Coldwater drowning can happen instantly, yet it can likewise require some time– a horrifying, drawn-out process in which limited amounts of water are breathed in, again and again, until your lungs become so saturated that you choke. Breathing in around five ounces (150 ml) of water is sufficient to cause drowning.

Heart Failure and Stroke

Since skin veins tighten because of sudden chilling, cold water immersion causes a rapid and massive growth in pulse rate and blood pressure. Invulnerable people significantly increases the risk of heart failure and stroke.
These things happen well before hypothermia turns into an issue.

Phases of Immersion

To figure out why some cold water deaths happen quickly, while others take hours, you should be aware of the four phases of cold water immersion, what occurs during every one of them, and why it happens.

Phase 1: Cold Shock

Coldwater stun can happen when your body experiences sudden immersion in cool water that is under 15°C. It causes uncontrolled breathing and increases heart rate, which can prompt hypothermia and drowning. 
As your heart beats quicker, veins in your skin quickly start to close, making it hard for blood to flow. 
Indications of cold water shock include: 
  • Quick cooling of skin, pale skin
  • Quick and uncontrollable breathing patterns, hyperventilation
  • Panic

Phase 2: Physical Incapacity

Physical incapacity is another way of saying that you become powerless in the water since you can no longer control your arms, legs, hands, and feet. At the point when this occurs, especially in waves, you are probably going to drown.
At the point when your muscles and nerves get sufficiently cold, they quickly stop working. This loss of muscle strength and control can happen rapidly. In cold water, it is likely to lose the use of your hands in less than a minute.
At the point when cold water cools your muscles and nerves:
  • You become gradually more vulnerable.
  • You become tired all the more quickly.
  • Your hands become numb and futile.
  • Your arms and legs stop working. 
    What this implies: 
    • Incapable to self-rescue.
    • Incapable of helping others who attempt to help you.
    • Swimming failure.
    • Incapable of positioning your back to the waves.
    • Highly increased danger of drowning.

    Phase 3: Hypothermia

    Hypothermia is harmful and happens when the core body temperature drops below 35°C for 30 minutes or more. It might follow cold water shock after an unexpected immersion in cold water. 

    Indications of hypothermia include: 

    • Confusion
    • Loss of coordination
    • Chilling stops
    • Body inflexibility and weakness

      Phase 4: Circum-rescue Collapse

      This circumstance can happen not long before rescue, during rescue– upon removing the victim from the water, and after rescue when the individual is out of the water. Circum-rescue collapse is not indeed known by all accounts to be identified with a sudden drop in blood pressure. It can cause blackouts and heart failure.

      Heat Escape Lessening Posture (HELP)

      If an accidental fall into the water, it is imperative to attempt to conserve however much of your energy as could reasonably be expected. This should be possible by taking the HELP method: 

      • Keep your head out of the water
      • Keep your clothes on to help hold heat
      • Bring your knees to the chest
      • Press both your arms against your sides
      • Maintain movement to a minimum and remain calm
      • Huddle with others as much as possible

        Be Prepared

        Going on a cold water outing requires absolute preparedness whenever there is a need or accidental immersion to cold water. Your possibility of surviving cold water immersion relies upon having adequate flotation to keep your head above water, controlling your breathing, having timely rescue without anyone else or others, and keeping body heat. Listed below are the key things to consider before going on a cold water escapade:

        • Always wear a proper personal flotation device (PFD) or life jackets and know how to use them.
        In choosing your  PFD, you have to ensure that: 
          1. It is the suitable type for your boating area and activity;
          2. It is the correct size and has enough lightness to help you in the water; and
          3. It is approved by the U.S. Coast Guard.
          • Wear layered clothing for insulation
          • Supply your boat with a means for re-entry (ladder, sling, etc.) to use if you should fall into the water
          • Bring an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB )
          • Check the weather before you go out on the water

          Surviving In Cold Water Immersion

          The Dangers of Drinking and Swimming Cold Water

          By all means, the best prevention is to take all necessary measures to prevent capsizing your boat or falling into cold water in any case. If you do fall into or must enter cold water: 

          • Do not panic. Strive to get control with your breathing. Hold something or remain as calm as possible until your breathing settles down. Concentrate on floating with your head above water until the cold shock reaction subsides. 
          • When your breathing is controlled, do the most important functions first before losing capability (10–15 minutes after immersion). 
          • If you were not wearing a PFD when you entered the water, look to check whether one is floating around you and put it on right away. Try not to take your clothes off except if necessary. A layer of water caught inside your clothing will help insulate or protect you. 
          • Concentrate on finding and getting everybody out of the water rapidly before you lose full use of your hands, arms, and legs. Attempt to reboard your boat, regardless of whether it is overturned or whatever else that is floating. Get however much of your body out of the water as much as possible. Even though you may feel colder out in the water, the pace of heat loss will be slower than if immersed in water. 
          • Be alert at all times to signal rescuers.

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