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Winter Swimming: The Nordic Way Towards a Healthier and Happier Life Dr. Susana Soberg

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Winter swimming, also known as cold water swimming, is the practice of swimming in cold water, often in natural bodies of water such as lakes, rivers, or the ocean. It is a popular activity in the Nordic countries, where it is often done as a form of exercise and is believed to have numerous health benefits. Susanna Søberg is a Danish author who has written a book about winter swimming in the Nordic countries, called "Winter Swimming: The Nordic Way Toward a Healthier and Happier Life." In the book, Søberg discusses the history and traditions of winter swimming in the Nordic countries, as well as the scientific research on the health benefits of cold water exposure. Some of the potential benefits of winter swimming include increased cardiovascular fitness, improved mental health, and increased immune system function. The book is set to be published in 2022 and is being translated into English by Elizabeth Noma.


# Meet the Author: Winter Swimming with Susanna Søberg - YouTube


## Transcript:

- ([00:08]( so welcome everybody my name is dina cowan i'm the educational and cultural programs manager here at the national nordic museum and i am delighted to welcome you to the last meet the author for this year we are thrilled to welcome uh danish um arthur susanna cerve who will talk about her upcoming book winter swimming the nordic way towards a healthier and happier life as always this talk is moderated by elizabeth noma and not only is she moderating today but she is also the translator behind the english version of

- ([00:43]( the book and i also know that she has been inspired to start winter swimming herself as i mentioned this is the last meet the author for 2021 and we hope you join us again in january when we welcome norwegian author to ralph ste and who will talk about his book the white bathing hat at the end of today's talk we will leave room for questions and we ask that you post your questions in the q a function on your screen and please write them as you think of them and we'll get to as many of them as possible and now i want to hand this over to dr

- ([01:16]( elizabeth noma founder and editorial director of the noma literary services elizabeth is an invaluable partner to the museum in this series her great expertise in international literature and scandinavian literature especially uh has allowed us to host the most current and interesting authors uh and translators in this series we could not do this without you elizabeth so please take it from here thank you so much stina uh before we start our conversation with dr susan serbae i'd like to acknowledge on behalf

- ([01:51]( of the national nordic museum that we are on the traditional land of the coast sailors peoples and to acknowledge also the impact of colonialism on all indigenous peoples we honor with gratitude the land and the tribes the nordic museum celebrates indigenous communities in the nordic countries in north america through its exhibits programs and collections and cultivates respectful relationships with each other through these partnerships thank you so today we have a real treat author dr susana sherbagh will be speaking with us about her research into

- ([02:25]( winter swimming nordic traditions and many health and other benefits that arise from plunging yourself year-round into the open water um dr sherbach holds a doctorate in basic metabolic research as a master's student research assistant and phd candidate she designed planned and conducted clinical studies winter swimming the nordic way toward a healthier and happier life is her first book we are among the first english language audience to get to talk to her about the book which is going to be published sometime in 2022.

- ([02:54]( um i should say like i should echo stephen's comment that i had the privilege of translating this book from danish into english and it absolutely transformed the way that i thought about getting into the water and my understanding of how and why a person would do something like that uh i know that many many of you will have questions for susanna the a number of people have already sent me questions for her um just to reiterate what she said please put them in the q a um ahead of time as you think of them and

- ([03:21]( we will try to get to all of them at the roughly 20 minutes that we have at the end of this hour i will sort them and ask the most common questions first so but please do bear with me if i don't get to everyone's questions or if we run out of time so without any further ado welcome susanna from seattle and from the national nordic museum where the water temperature is right about 52 degrees fahrenheit 11 degrees celsius uh where do we find you today hi elizabeth and thank you for having me here today i am

- ([03:51]( looking so much forward to this and i am great thank you and i can tell you that in the in denmark the water temperature is around nine degrees now six six between six and nine so it's really getting cold in the water so yeah [Laughter] have you been i was in yesterday out at the golden gardens here in seattle um have you been in the last couple days yes i was actually in today because the sun was really out and and i just thought okay maybe i should just go and have a quick swim before i had to go to a birthday and

- ([04:26]( you can really do it like in between something it doesn't have to take long so i just had a quick jump in the water wonderful yes okay so before we go to get to your individual experience and your research would you tell us a little bit about um so the book is called winter swimming the nordic way toward a happier and healthier life can you give us um some of the history of a cold water immersion like what that looked like in the countries that you're familiar with in the nordic region yeah so there is actually evidence going

- ([04:56]( back way way back to hypocrisis who where we can see that people actually went into the cold water and they also had this experience that this actually was benefiting their health in some way of course they didn't know how or why or anything but they could definitely feel that something happens physiologically and probably also mentally so it was like uh already then they had this experience that this is something that is good for you going into cold water was actually benefiting them in in different ways but then also in the

- ([05:31]( day in the 18th century we did also see some evidence actually in the literature now we we have something they did over already back then and we can see that they there was this doctor called thomas jefferson who took a cold foot bath what is the cold food bath yeah and and he did that every day and he also had this experience that this was actually something that was helping him um in in in some various ways but he did this every day and he had um he had this saying that i have to take my cold food bath every day because it keeps me

- ([06:11]( healthy in some way and that is actually quite interesting because if we jump from from them to now taking cold food baths is actually something you can do to activate something we call the the brown fat but we'll get back to that so but there's a hundreds of years now connecting connecting this cold water and health experience that that we can maybe get closer on a essay in these days because more research is getting into this but um then um in the 17 in 1917 uh 1790 and there was actually this doctor called james curry who was very

- ([07:03]( interested in in cold water and what happened when you go into cold water if you are sick so he thought about cold water as a cure against the fever and he he started being interested in this because he he met um he had heard about this the story from from william let me see his name was william thompson i think it was yeah william thompson who had an experience that they that he was on a ship um on his way to jamaica and then he um he was he was he had this fever and they he took the cold water he told some some

- ([07:44]( sailor to give him a a bucket of cold water over him just because he had this idea that this might help him so he took the cold water and then after that he experienced that his fever went away and his headache and he felt much better for at least a few hours and based on that james curry he started doing his uh his research on on cold water and the benefits of that and how that could actually cure fever um and he did get very famous for this research but eventually as time went uh we did find out that that it was not curing the fever it was

- ([08:23]( just giving you can say decreasing your your um your immune defense a bit so you will have a and a less um a lower fever because the the body will experience that that that you have this you can say yeah a lower immune system for some time and then it will increase again but it didn't really help on the fever so yeah but then time went by and when we then come to um i think it was we are in the 1800s yeah then people started in germany and denmark and norway and telling people from if the state told people to to to go swimming if they

- ([09:14]( were feeling sick and then and also also to to keep them healthy because it's just for yeah um washing yourself and keeping yourself healthy and clean so that was what they told them to do and also um yeah that's that's how it all started really but people have just kept going with the wind winter swimming and the cold water but nobody has really back then known exactly what is actually the health benefits of this so then you have to we have to jump uh really further up in in history where we have the first scientific

- ([09:56]( studies showing uh that it can actually do something good for your immune system or your metabolism metabolism is quite new but the immune system goes back to the 70s 60s so yeah okay well before we get into all the different metabolic stuff the the culture in denmark that you describe in your book around winter swimming or around cold water swimming is really really lovely and unique would you could you talk about that or describe it for us a little bit it's a little bit different than than what we have here i think

- ([10:28]( okay well um in so in denmark we have a very very large winter swimming culture and here it is it's it and it's very old actually so since the 60s 70s they started winter swimming and we do it naked um not not uh not as much uh now but we did back them and then everybody was naked um and going into the water and and uh you just do it from the beach or from the bridge or wherever you can do it from in in the sea in a in a lake if you have that um and um and then we go to the sauna if we have one but in denmark we are very much the

- ([11:11]( real vikings if you can say that well i hope you won't get mad at me but in in denmark we usually just went to swim without sona and so in norway and sweden and finland they always use the sauna but in denmark we don't so and it's quite new that we are starting doing that so so it's just going into the water um and and and yeah some people do it naked and some people actually wear a swimsuit but um a lot of the older generations do it naked so yeah and you have yeah and you have the one thing that i

- ([11:46]( was very envious of was these swimming clubs that you described did you yeah talk about those for a little bit for us yeah so we have these small clubs um and we have had that for many years like it's 30 years the the first ones actually started and the clubs are they're really unique so if you can join a club and you are lucky enough to get through the waiting list and then you would join a community which is so unique you would not you would not experience this in any other clubs i would say i have been to many sports

- ([12:21]( clubs but in the winter swimming club you just have this very free of mind thinking then and sitting there with people on the bridge or standing there and cheering for people jumping into the water and getting up again and you are only wearing a swimsuit or maybe nothing it's just a very free way of being together and and it's it's it's quite fun that we have now found out that this community is actually super healthy for your mind and for your social experience because back then in the old days in denmark

- ([13:01]( people went winter swimming because it was very social but we didn't really talk about it was not something that we told young people to come come and join the club because it's actually very social it's very fun and it's just and it doesn't matter who you are people don't care if you are if you're rich or if you're poor if you have a high education if you don't it really really doesn't matter it's just this um it's a very free culture so everything um that you experience maybe

- ([13:31]( from from this stigma that you can have in society when you go to work when you go to uh yeah any anywhere else i would say then when you go to this club everything just disappears i think it's just being there in the nature with other people and it doesn't matter who it's just an a very unique experience and you actually have to try to really understand how it is but it's it's i think it's it's quite unique and more of these clubs are popping up everywhere and because the old clubs

- ([14:05]( they have i think the waiting lists are like five years or something like that and maybe even longer in some clubs but so new clubs are popping up everywhere in denmark right now i i believe that it must be the same in england than in the us i don't know we definitely have groups up and it's very very popular and i think more so during the pandemic which i was going to ask you a little bit about yeah in denmark there's actually a physical building sometimes too right with like the cafeteria and yeah yeah exactly so we have this small

- ([14:36]( we we have these small houses it's it's so it looks very cute and sometimes there's also a sauna uh but it's not in every club but we also we often have a little limb so like a little club where you can go from the bathing bridge down in the water and then you can go inside again and then you can sit and talk and drink tea and often people meet there and they get new friends and they just sit there and talk before or after and then they often also become friends and go for a run together or they yeah

- ([15:12]( meet other places go for the for training or something like that so we see every kind of relationships that develop in in the winter swimming clubs that sounds that sounds wonderful but that's not what it drew you to it initially was it how did you get interested in in um in winter swimming and how you started researching it if you could give us your background on that yeah i i will i'll do that it's i would say um so in the beginning of my research i i was top of my supervisor so you should you should study brown fat because brown

- ([15:49]( fat is the new black it's really really cool and nobody knows anything about it so you probably no matter what you do you're gonna find out something new because you're gonna do it in humans and i was like okay that's interesting but they they need to be cold right i was like and said yeah they need to be cold and then my other supervisor professor benji clarlow and peterson she told me well if they need to be cold then you could probably go to greenland why not go to greenland i was like ah i don't know going to greenland

- ([16:22]( that's a bit far away from my kids you know they are small i can't move away so i did spend some time figuring out what to do who who can um what can i do about this brown fat thing i need to do something where i cool them and then i i needed to find out uh what happened what happens with the brownfield when you cool people so um i figured maybe i should study people who work in the street do you know not the working industry but people where like um what do you say work a lot outside in in all kinds of weather

- ([17:04]( but that was like very difficult because they don't do that all the time so then i came up with winter swimmers and they i started writing emails to winter swimmers that i knew and like hey do you know if any winter swimmers and they was like i come to our club and then i went to some clubs just ask them how they feel about winter swim because i didn't know anything about it i was like i don't even get why you go in the cold water it's freezing i mean it's it's not comfortable at all so i watched for a

- ([17:35]( while i did like an observational study almost um and then i started actually reading a lot about what happens to the body when you get cold and the brown fat gets activated um because of the coke receptors in the skin sends the signal to the brain via the central nervous system and the neurotransmitters that are released which is happens right away is a norepinephrine and that is exactly what activates the brown fat so i figured that if you go into cold water and it's immediately freezing your skin then you must have an immediate

- ([18:17]( activation of the brown fat so i thought that was quite an interesting hypothesis that you can activate your brown fat with cold water swimming and also studies out there showed us that if you have if you go into cold water you um also can boost your brown fat and that was why i thought maybe i should just investigate the the winter swimmers and um when i started that they said well if you're going to investigate the winter storms you have to come yourself and at first i was like i got i think three emails from the same

- ([18:55]( family who was winter swimming um and within these two three months they were writing me and i was writing back i don't know i don't like cold water i'm like everybody else i don't like cold water um so they said well you have to try it because you cannot do your research based on something you really don't know so and i had to admit that they were right so i started winter swimming with this family i did i did go two times i think it was and and it was very unique family because all all in the family were went

- ([19:29]( to swimming and it was every day uh i found that very inspiring i think so um can i back you up just for a second when you're talking about where you were doing your studies can we talk about where like what what research what university you were at and and what why you were studying why they wanted you to study brown fat so what was your field at that point and then maybe what is brown fat let's start yes yes so uh i started as a research assistant at the the center for physical activity research uh at the

- ([20:02]( professor bentley clarlon peterson's group at risos at that point i have already did done some research in another field but another topic on the at the university of copenhagen but then i started this new um yeah you can say new research field in the brown fed so but it was still connected with all the you can say the research i have done previously also because it's in obesity so how it's connected so brown fat is a kind of fat that we have that is really really different from the white fat and it's different from any tissue that

- ([20:44]( we have in the body it it can actually activate um your metabolism it can it can generate heat when it's activated with for example cold and when it does when it's activated with cold it can increase our energy expenditure and it uses sugar and fat from the bloodstream when it's activated so if imagine that you get cold uh from on your feet or on your skin somehow or go into cold water so i just talked to you about um how the neurotransmitters get into your blood system from activating your um your neurons in your skin then then when the

- ([21:32]( neurotransmitters are in in your circulation and also from the nervous system it will activate the brown fat and the brown fat will then take up um it would be activated and then it would take up sugar and the fat from the bloodstream and in that way it would like clean up a bit from the extra fat and the extra cigarette that you have floating around which you don't really need um and when there is not enough or if there is not enough it would take from your your depos which would be the white fat and so that is how it is different so

- ([22:06]( the white fat is storing the fat and you can say and the brown fat is using the fat of the sugar from your your body so um one fat the brown fat is increasing your energy expenditure and the other one is storing your um your fat and sugar so that is how it is different so our a thought in in in our research was that if you can activate the brown fat find a way to do that then you can increase your metabolism and you can lose weight so what we want to do with the brown fat field is to find out can we figure out some way to

- ([22:50]( keep the brown fat activated to get more brown fat in your body so you can have a higher metabolism because today we actually um don't know how much all people have of brown fat but we do have some studies showing that babies have a lot of brown fat they are born with like a huge pound of brown fat on on the back and that is because they don't have the ability to shiver in in the muscles and the brown fat generates heat when it's activated that is like the main outcome of brown fat and and to generate the heat it needs to

- ([23:30]( spend some energy and the energy as i told you is sugar and fat which it takes from this your storage so babies really need this brown fat and back in the days when i think it was in in the 1920s or 30s they found out that babies have this brown fat but in the 1970s they saw these pet city scannings of people who were scanned for cancer and other diseases and they saw that there was this weird looking tissue up under the clavicular bones and down the spine and it lightened up when they were put in the scanner and they figured that oh

- ([24:18]( that is weird there's some kind of new weird tissue that we don't know what it is but then some researchers said well it must be the brown fat because that is actually where we've seen it in babies and so that is very interesting why do adults have brown fat still and when they actually still then they when they have the ability to shiver in the muscles and they can generate heat from that and that was when they asked do we have brown fat for other reasons than just to keep ourselves warm so that is why we started this studies

- ([24:56]( in brown fat and also to figure out can we gain more brown fat because it actually is healthy fat that's really fascinating and but before we talk about what you found out let's go back to like when you started doing your studies so how did you begin and what did you what did you think the first couple of times and what were your subjects responses like uh yeah so um so my first initial thoughts uh about the brown fat or the winter swimming well you took up winter swimming to to investigate the brown fat right so yes

- ([25:33]( you're trying to find out it sounds like you were trying to find out whether this exposure to cold was activating brown fat yeah so we set up a study using were you using new new swimmers or seasoned swimmers ah okay yeah so um i was thinking that if i wanted to er yeah so there were some literatures showing that if you expose yourself to cold in some way sitting in an open window for 30 minutes every day for 20 days then we have seen that people increase the amount of brown fat that they have and that is quite fascinating

- ([26:09]( because then you can actually you can you can uh you can help your body get more healthy if you just expose yourself to cold there was also a study showing that if you sleep in a cold room for um at the i think it was 19 degrees for a month then they increased the amount of brown fat when they demanded after slept at 24 24 degrees and then 29 degrees they saw that the amount of brown fat was the was the decreasing again so it was definitely the cold and not the warm that the that increased the amount of brown fat and we really want

- ([26:48]( more brown fat because it's healthy so i was thinking okay that is interesting so if you expose yourself to cold all the time like winter swimmers then they must have more brown fat and i look into the literature do we have some winter swimming studies showing anything about metabolism and i found one study which um was this a randomized control trial uh in the middle aged men and women it was and where they had measured insulin levels and blood pressure i think it was yeah and they found that upon one winter swimming season which

- ([27:30]( was four months in this study they found that they had they increased their insulin sensitivity just because they were winter swimming for four months um compared to the control group of course and also they found that the blood pressure was lower after the season and i found that very fascinating because we also know from studies in mice but also in some human studies that if you activate your brown fat you you will have um you will you will use your your sugar in the body and you will have a increased insulin

- ([28:10]( sensitivity so i was like maybe i can connect the dots a bit with winter swimming maybe that was my hypothesis that if people have been winter swimming for a long time maybe they have a better metabolism in some way maybe they have a better insulin sensitivity maybe they have more brown fat or better activity in the brown fat so i thought i better start with a study where i have um winter swimmers who were already very adapted to the cold so i took in trained winter swimmers who have been swimming more than two seasons

- ([28:49]( um and going into the water uh three times per week two to three two to three times per week and also went in the water more than just one time and i uh fortunately which it wasn't really planned that way but i figured it was a good idea but they all told me when i was recruiting that they also used the sauna and then was like well actually um i did this pre pre-screening before i did my protocol or wrote my protocol because i wanted to figure out what is actually winter swimming in denmark how how do they do it today

- ([29:24]( and and most of them seven um seven out of eight of the subjects who were trained winter swimmers and went to the sauna so that is why i took the the trained winter swimming into this first study where we have eight winter swimmers and measured up against eight control subjects who were very equally matched these two groups and they were matched on age gender because they were all men and also they were matched on fitness level and on [Music] bmi of course so they were very similar in these two groups as good as it can get of course it's not a

- ([30:09]( randomized controlled trial but it was as good as we could could get it actually so we did we did do it very thoroughly we think at least um and and in that way we could we could compare the two groups and see if they have a different kind of activation in the brown fat or more of it and how is the metabolism so yeah that's how why i started with trained winter swimmers okay and so can we ask what were the results that you found yes you can because my publication just came out a few weeks ago right it took almost three years to collect

- ([30:53]( the data write the protocol from actually having all the data and it took four years to to actually get this out so i'm very very pleased that it was publicly published here um three weeks ago i think it was and it um the the study showed that the winter swimmers actually had a different kind of activation in the brown fat so when we measured compared to two groups during cold exposure we saw that they have equally as much brown fat and in the two groups when we measured with with there's the glucose tracer and pet ct

- ([31:34]( scannings and and it is that is a very golden standard way of measuring uh brown fat activity in humans and and that is because we can visually see the brown fat on the screen and and also we know that brown fat takes up glucose as the main fuel um when it's activated so when we measure this we inject this glucose tracer into a vein and then it will go to the activated tissue in the body and if i cool them which i did in the lab and with these cooling mats before they went into the scanner and then we could

- ([32:17]( see that there was actually equally as much in the two groups interestingly um we saw that during room temperature which was our control day we saw that the winter swimmers didn't have any activated brown fat at all but the control group did have activation during room temperature at first we were like that was an odd finding we didn't expect that at all and and we couldn't figure it out at first what it actually meant but then we we also analyzed all our other data and at the end it all it makes sense you can say we think it

- ([33:02]( it makes sense at least and because we saw that the winter swimmers had a higher skin temperature but we also saw that they had a lower cold temperature which they get also from going into the sauna that we know already from the literature that if you go to the sauna regularly you will lower your core temperature and you will increase your skin temperature and that is because the the body will prepare itself for going into the next heat exposure and they protect itself from from heating up on within the core so we found out that that is how the

- ([33:43]( winter swimmers also looked um and we here see that they had this because because of the not activation during room temperature that they had at much better uh regulation of a temperature in the body so this is that is like saying um you can figure it saying like um they have a better temperature adaptation in the body they are better at regulating temperature so we saw that when we then exposed them to cold they had a very rapid activation of the brown fat um and they also increased more heat from the brown fat also they had um

- ([34:31]( a higher energy expenditure which was actually one of our very good findings which we also did not expect but the winter swimmers had a higher um metabolism actually during cold so they activate the brown fat immediately when they are cold to generate heat in the body from muscles but also from the brown fat to make sure that they are not too cold and they do that in an even better way than the non-adapted uh too cold so the control group so you can say that the trained winter swimmers at least they do have a higher um

- ([35:08]( calorie burning during a cold and then not winter swimmers do also the brown fat activation is you can say is more is is changed it's altered in some way which makes it more sensitive and better adjusted to to the surroundings totally fascinating how long does it take to get caught to become cold adapted so how many can you give us a range because obviously you had these subjects who were experienced at what point what shows you that you're cold adapted yeah so a cold adaptation is not something that you have to wait too long too i

- ([35:50]( would say so cold adaptation is like on a continuum so actually from you go from the first time and the second time is actually you're already getting code adapted and when you go for the third fourth and fifth time you would definitely feel a difference when you compare your own experience to the first time you went in i can i can tell from from my own self experience the first time was i would say it was it was actually horrible i was like how am i ever going to do this again i mean it was fun but it was so cold and it didn't really feel

- ([36:24]( that great i must say and then i went for the second third and fourth time and then i could feel wow i am not one i'm not panicking anymore and i can breathe actually i can stay in the water i can count to five i don't remember but five or ten or something like that but already when you are at your fourth three four fifth time you would definitely all already feel the code adaptation so it's pretty early actually and when you then get through your first winter swimming season your uh body is so adapted to cold and

- ([36:59]( it's so intelligent that when you get to the next season the year after if you are not a year around winter's year-round swimmer then you don't become don't be you can say don't don't be it's okay because then you will then you will be cold adapted already for the next season because the body can already remember what happened last season so when you don't have to go through it again no no exactly it's an icebreaker it's you just have to go the first season and then you can just keep winter

- ([37:34]( swimming of course the first time you go into cold water at the second season or third or yeah whatever it will feel cold but then already second time third time you will be back where you were um last year so cold adaptation is going really quick because the body needs to protect you from not dying so that is that is the main reason yeah um so what i know so many people are interested in this and we're already starting to need questions which is wonderful okay so what exactly so so imagine walk us through we're walking um you're either

- ([38:07]( walking down the ladder into the cold water or you're walking out from the shore what is happening physiologically like step by step as you're in there for say two three five minutes however long okay wow so um so as soon as you step into the water um you as your toe touches the water the the cold receptors were already in the skin since that you're getting cold and before you do that you will if you're a new winter swimmer or yeah if you're a new winter swimmer you will already have a bit of a higher

- ([38:42]( respiration because you are a bit worried what is going to going to happen now but as soon as you touch the water you will actually activate these neurotransmitters in the body nor the adrenaline and dopamine and and norepinephrine and uh yeah and um it will activate your um your fight and flight system in your your body because that is a the body telling you now something really dangerous is happening and cold water is dangerous if you are not cautious about it but of course we are winter swimmers and we have a ladder and

- ([39:22]( we know what we're doing it's not an accident that we're going into the water so we just need to teach the body that we are in control we know what we're doing so as soon as you go into water you activate your cold shock response and your um you hyperventilate it's a reflex and then you will have the um your activation of the central nervous system and that will actually fight a bit your parasympathetic activation of your central nervous system as well so one system wants the heart to beat fast

- ([39:56]( and the other system wants it to slow down because that is your diving response so and that is only in humans actually and and um that we experience this so when we go into water immerse yourself in water not not in the cold shower it won't work it's only if you immerse the body into cold water that you will have activations of both systems in the literature we will we found that when you do that you don't actually have a a higher what you say a post and you don't have a higher blood pressure because you go

- ([40:34]( into cold water because the two systems will actually equal out a bit each other because one is trying to raise the heart and the other one is like trying to stabilize it so that is also why it's a bit conflicting between these two systems so that is why i'm also saying that if you have a heart problems and if you you have some if you have known very high blood pressure and known with these heart diseases you need to um go to your doctor and and ask them if if it's okay that you start winter swimming so that was just a little note

- ([41:07]( about that for safety reasons um but it's actually very conflicting for for the body to to start winter swimming and so but already as i said before cold adaptation happens so quickly that you will already feel at three four five fifth time that you have a much um lower pose or you have already low post but you have more um control over your breathing because the um the the panic is gone a bit and the body has already adapted so it's um it's it's a it's it's not the same experience the first time in the in the fifth time

- ([41:47]( but you will have definitely a lot of activation in the body and a lot of dopamine in the brain and you will you will have a um so much uh joy feeling afterwards and yeah i think many people would would know yeah i know that you worked with with novice winter swimmers as well right yes i did and yeah you probably tracked some of their results over time too yeah what did we what did we find there with with people who weren't called adapter but became cold adapted yes so uh that is that was the next study that we did so we after

- ([42:26]( we had the experience the code the water swimmers we wanted to see what happens if we just have two totally uh new people who have never tried winter swimming before to see can we increase the brown fat amount can we activate it somehow and can they have a better metabolism increase the metabolism in some way however we have not uh all the results yet so i can't really tell you what we actually see here we have to wait a bit and when the publication is out i'm i would love to tell all of you about it

- ([42:58]( um but what we what i can tell you um that we saw from uh when they walked into the water uh which we just talked about before we did see that the the heart was the post was not increasing that much only like the first few seconds when they went into the water because they were they had this um uh watch uh from garmin it was a garmin watch like tracking the heartbeat and and the blood pressure and how many swim strokes did they take and how many seconds did they stay in the in the water and so all sorts of um of things and we could

- ([43:35]( totally see that blood pressure and posts were pretty stable but as they stayed in the water the posts actually went down a bit because they were most of them were sitting in the water or st standing in the water and and when they sit there they have this kind of i wouldn't say meditating way of of of breathing but they tried to to cope with the cold by breathing slowly in and slowly out and that actually decreased the pose which was good for them because then they could stay in the water in a longer time so yeah thank you

- ([44:15]( but we don't have really all this there's the result from the the second story i'm sorry about that yeah oh that's all right we know what direction your research is going and we'll monitor that and so now we've got we have a lot of questions in it i'm just going to start with start with all of them um if that's all right with you that's fine so how long do you need to stay in the water for maximum benefits what's the range that's ideal okay so for maximum benefits so when you go

- ([44:45]( into cold water a lot of things will happen so i can't really i it needs to be a little bit more specific than that but i can talk about some of the things that i know about and then there are things that i really don't know about yet or anybody knows about so um if you um go into water the cold water and you are able i wouldn't say you have to but if you are able to stay there for two minutes up to two minutes that would be really good because that has shown that you can that you will be able to increase your

- ([45:18]( metabolism which i have shown in my studies my winter swimmers which were also who also using the sauna stayed in the water um i think it was 11 minutes per week and they went in in the so meantime you can say 11 minutes in in total per week but every time they went they they were in the water for up to uh one two minutes at a time but then they went to the sauna and then they went down the water again so it you don't need to stay in the water a for four five minutes or ten minutes or 15 minutes i've heard people do that

- ([45:59]( as well you don't have to do that because you can just go up a bit maybe go even to the sauna if you are lucky enough to have one or have access to one or you can just go up and just sorry but some people do this and i think it's it's very cool that they they go up and do jumping jacks and then they go down the water again and that is just to increase your metabolism a bit on the bridge and then you can go down and you don't have to stay in the water for that long to increase your metabolism and

- ([46:29]( also to lower your blood pressure after um a season of winter swimming also you boost your uh your immune system and for that you also don't need to stay in the water for more than 30 30 seconds or one minute two minutes so i would say stay in the water as long as as you feel is right for you don't stay two minutes or 30 seconds if you are not adapted just take it slowly and go go with the flow with your body your body will tell you what to do and and just relax in it and just don't push it out that's what i wanted to say don't push

- ([47:07]( it too much because you will slowly get adapted and then you can increase the amount of time that you stay in the water but you will definitely have the benefits already when as soon as you touch the water you will activate your brown fat and that increases your metabolism so so don't worry that's great does the water what temperature what temperature does the water have to be to to get your body to have this response this cascade of hormones and so forth yeah so um by definition we say that that cold water is water a from 15

- ([47:40]( degrees celsius and below so actually i i think that's quite warm yeah but actually it's quite cold for the body because your skin temperature is much higher so as soon as the the the code receptors in the skin sense that you are just changing the the temperature around the body then you would actually actually activate your uh nerve central nervous system and that already activates your brown fat and all your hormones in the body all the dopamine and the endofins and stuff like that so you will you will have that at me as soon as you

- ([48:15]( are in the water at from i guess probably september october and all all the way at least in denmark until end of april i would say that is the cold months so yeah and for those of us who are on fahrenheit that's about 50 to 59 degrees in under yeah that's what it said yeah thank you no no problem um do you still get benefits if you wear a wetsuit uh where's a full body wetsuit i it's not specified it's not i would say that if you wear a wetsuit of course you will be um because you will have this water under

- ([48:55]( the suit uh that you will heat up a bit then of course you would not be as cold as if you don't wear the wetsuit and you can stay longer in the water then i guess then at the end it will it will add up and it will also be healthy for you so if you if you are a real winter swimmer where you swim maybe longer distances then wear a wetsuit because then you will you will have the the cold exposure anyways but if you are just dipping i mean then you i guess you don't have to wear a wetsuit but you have benefits

- ([49:31]( even though i think yeah okay so it's all good for you thank you um is there any advantage to having more brown fat for higher temperatures can it help cool the body you touched on this a little bit about temperature regulation i said i think can it help cool the body too can you can you repeat it is there an advantage to having more brown fat for higher temperatures uh so for higher temperatures we you you we haven't tested if if you will increase your amount of brown fat if you go into uh warm water is that what you're no i

- ([50:09]( think it means like i think what i think it's touching on what you touched on earlier is that yeah the people that that the cold exposure or and having more brown fat helps with temperature regulation in general oh yeah yeah it it definitely it definitely does also also for the the higher temperature and so if you have more brown fat then you will have a better regulation and a better uh yeah temperature regulation in the body just er frankly yeah great uh if you lower your core temperature does it mean you can stay in the cold

- ([50:40]( water longer or will it be harder um if you have a lower core temperature yeah well lower cold temperature like if you if yeah so winter swimmers who also uses the sauna have a lower cold temperature but then they have a higher skin temperature but they are adapted so actually that they can stay longer in the water because they have made this you can say a protection system in the body where it's a it it it increases the skin temperature as soon as you go in the the cold receptors will make sure to to um to increase the neural neuropathy

- ([51:26]( in the body and that will um increase the vessel constriction of the vessels to the skin so almost actually blocking uh the bloodstream to the skin which makes it almost numb of course but also then they will lose the less heat from the body so it's a way of protecting themselves in a in a way but also then when you go to the sauna you have the opposite thing happening so then they will um very fast opening off again because it wants to the the the wrong receptors will feel that it's warm and then it will open up the

- ([52:03]( vessels again heating up the body and then that's why if you have a lower core temperature as a winter swimmer you will not be able it will not mean that you will not be able to stay longer in the water it just means that you have a different way of regulating the temperature um and you can stay longer in the water because you are adapted yeah there's another question about this just about the sauna so are there more benefits if you add saunas to your winter swimming routine and you've just sort of touched on that but yeah

- ([52:32]( explicitly ask you yeah so we i haven't uh we have we don't have a study where we only used winter swimmers who didn't use the sauna so i can't say that that it's better using the combination of of sauna and winter swimming compared to only winter swimming because i haven't done that study but i can say the combination definitely shows that you have health benefits when you combine it but i can say that when we look at only cold exposure studies we can see that you will get these benefits as well

- ([53:05]( but i think the sauna and the combination of of heat and cold would that will increase your um your metabolism in your body so i think the combination is more healthier that is what i believe at least yeah you mentioned insulin sensitivity and i am wondering if you know of cold water swimming uh the impacts on people with type 2 diabetes is another question yes so um so the study that i have done the second study that i just touched upon just earlier on um they have all uh i recruited a pre-diabetic subjects because we actually don't know if people

- ([53:48]( with diabetes will be cured from from diabetes if they start winter swimming we don't we don't know that um but that would be very cool if people could just start winter swimming and increase their metabolism and insulin sensitivity and then they will make cure for diabetes then i guess a lot of industry and medicine we don't have to use that anymore but i don't believe that's gonna happen i think that winter swimming is going to boost your metabolism and you can use it as an add-on even um

- ([54:23]( also a diabetic subjects or people can use winter swimming to boost their metabolism i think it will work the same way for for for all people and it's going to be very interesting to see in our study if pre-diabetic patients actually can have a better metabolism because of of winter swimming so so the reason why we chose a pre-diabetic subject is actually to see if we can maybe move the move them towards the more healthy and metabolism and if we only use healthy subjects then we probably won't see a that much or maybe we will and then when

- ([55:09]( we when we touch upon a group who is not all healthy then we it might be even more difficult or it might be easier that we don't know but that is what we wanted to see what is the best way to warm up if you don't have a sauna oh jumping jacks no i i the west way to warm up so a really really good like a rope you need a really good rope and when you go into swimming i would say i suggest wearing neoprene shoes or a gloves or both if you if you want because afterwards you need to put something on to protect the skin from

- ([55:50]( the wind and the the cold of course and there are so many choices out there so many different ropes that you can buy today and they are all super good um and shoes i think that is actually my best advice because wearing shoes then you won't slip on the bridge that is one thing for safety but also it gets it makes it easier actually to stay in the water and they walk down the ladder because fingers and toes and ankles i think some people also freeze their ankles too a lot and then that's why they have to

- ([56:27]( go up from the water so if you keep your hands above the water and above the level of the water because i do that because my fingers get so cold that i i have to go up if i put them in the water so i just say stay like that and and also wear the shoes and put on a rope as soon as i get up i always have some hot coffee or tea to use my preference and and i drink that in the car on the way home because i must say this is my first year using winter swimming and combined with sonar because i just got into a club with a sauna and so this is

- ([57:04]( my first season using a sauna and the two years before that i've been a winter swimmer i have only went into the cold water put on a rope and had my tea on my in my car and and that is how i warmed up it i must say after at first maybe five six times i didn't i didn't freeze when i get it when i got home but uh i had this weird experience i thought it was weird but i hear that many people experience this and that is just going out to you new winter swimmers that if you experience that you will freeze when

- ([57:41]( you come home and you will actually start shivering that is pretty normal and it's not dangerous at all you just take one clothes on and or take a a a go go go into the bed or something of and take some tea or something like that because it it's just the body trying to heat up again because when you go into cold water the one blood will go into the center and then when you go up again uh you have cooled down the blood which is still of course in your arms and legs and then when you get heated up in your

- ([58:15]( arms and legs the the the blood from your sensor will go out in the in the in the skin again and then it will be cooled down from your cold skin actually so then you you you actually experience a decrease in your temperature in the body so don't stay too long in the water because you need to adapt slowly to too cold do you do you submerge your head is there a difference between submerging your head and not submerging your head and does it matter if you're called adapted for that yeah so well i i never submerge my head because

- ([58:51]( i have uh because there are sexy some safety reasons around this um because the studies have shown that if you uh submerge your head into the water you will um you actually well your 80 of you the heat from the body actually comes out from your head so if you submerge the head under the water you will have a very rapid and very i would say almost dangerous a heat loss from your body um and that is why we say it's a it's actually too uh too dangerous to submerge your head and you can faint and if you do

- ([59:31]( then you are at the risk of drowning so you always have to er that is what we advise people to do to go into the water and not alone always with a group or at least just one person and don't submerge your head under the water you don't need to do that to get the health benefits so yeah it is also because we see in studies that uh when we submerge the whole body into water with and without putting the head under we see that a 30 of the blood will actually float out of your uh your your head so you also lose

- ([1:00:12]( a bit of your and you can say um yeah mental maybe capacity a bit it's just very it's very brief but it's actually there so you might feel a bit dizzy maybe when you go into water you feel lightheaded and that's because the blood actually flows from your head and and down to the body yeah yeah um and we have we have a we're having more questions come in all the time but i know where our time is limited but we're going to take a couple more and just make a point of clarification when you're talking about going on the dot of

- ([1:00:43]( the bridge you mean out on the dock or the jet what we would call the jetty out here when you're yeah the jetty yeah exactly sorry oh no no no worries i just went so um so is the is it mood boosting to get into cold water when you're participating in the in the social club yes so yes i would say of course it is you can just ask any winter swimmer you know or you can you can read about this in my book and you can you it's it's definitely a moose booter a mood booster i'm sorry and you can say it's it's obvious because

- ([1:01:21]( you can ask people do you get in a better mood yes they do okay and do you get more energy of course yes and there is also some some um some research which shows that from questionnaires showing that that people who goes into cold water and also some of them using the sauna they feel more energetic and they feel they feel in a better mood and some of them actually have feelings of if they had a depression that they will they will have a less depressed mind at least so and from the more physiological view we know that there is

- ([1:02:02]( a release of norepinephrine and there is a also epinephrine release uh the happy the happy hormones come out the dopamine um release also so we definitely have a physiological explanation for that too but then there's also the the whole social thing then you go into you go to the sea it's beautiful the nature and you go with your friends or you go to this club where there's this super energy you you really have to open these clubs anywhere in the world it's it's amazing i would say and and then you are

- ([1:02:36]( just super energetic when you go uh when you go home um and that energy will lift your mood of course and they will also you will bring that you will bring it to your family to your work anywhere so being a winter swimmer definitely doesn't have um 100 any not only 100 anything to do with just going into cold water it has something to do with a new healthy lifestyle and a way of living i would say so i think um one last question which sort of builds on what you've just said and thank you so much for that answer because that i

- ([1:03:08]( think is what so much of so many of us experience is that that rush of happiness yeah being together out in the nature um do you think that that winter swimming has increased during the pandemic oh yeah definitely it was that was that was crazy i mean it was getting more popular at least from when i started my research back in 2016 uh people were like oh winter swimmers you say that is uh well it's it's kind of getting a bit trendy isn't it and i was like yeah maybe i don't know but then uh when we came to corona and the lockdowns

- ([1:03:47]( all people went out and went to swimming and it actually it shows that this might be something that people some people did it because they always wanted to do it and now they had the time but also because it is exciting if people are they can't go to the movies they can't go to concerts and can't do anything else which is also exciting but you have the nature and you have the cold water which gives you an energy boost and it will lift your mood and that was absolutely what we needed during all the

- ([1:04:17]( lockdowns because it was getting really boring so i guess that is the main reason why i think that was the main reason why people went winter swimming because people could make distance from each other but also just using the nature which was is never on a lockdown actually um so you can the nature is always there and we can use it and it's for free and yeah so i guess that that's that's why we did that yeah thank you so much susana it's been so fun to catch up with you and yeah you've just been so informative and

- ([1:04:49]( i just want to tell everybody that there's we've just scratched the surface there's so much more in the book yes and we're gonna send out the link to the pre-order page when it becomes available for the publisher uh from her publisher uh thank you again it's just been really a remarkable conversation to have with you today and so nice to see you again thank you thank you for listening in everyone and thank you for inviting me elizabeth i think this was this was very much fun and i i hope that people there

- ([1:05:16]( was much more as elizabeth says in the book i wish i'd had an hour more and so yeah where can where can people follow you on social media so i i have this page on the on instagram uh it's just my my name with a an oe instead of the the danish er which nobody knows or can type so so you can find me on instagram um yeah i guess maybe you can i can maybe i can send a link here in the chat yeah sure why don't you put that in the chat and i will do some closing comments for everybody and thank you thank you

- ([1:05:50]( all of you for coming today so um in the next session of meet the author in january we'll be talking with the award-winning norwegian fiction writer torvald stan and we look forward to seeing all of you after the holidays but there are also lots of things going on at the national nordic museum over the coming um the coming two months uh there's a soup in cinema on tuesday that i'm going to try to attend and there's also the yield fest coming up in november 20th and 21st and many many many other things there's a knitting

- ([1:06:19]( conference going on now more things that i can even remember and in closing if you are in a position to do so please consider making a donation to keep programs like that at the national nordic museum going through their website details yeah details available on the website thank you all did you get did you get that in the did you get your information in there susana uh yeah just uh this is this is my name you can search this on the instagram um and i will pop up okay wonderful well thank you all for coming

- ([1:06:52]( and we will see you out on the water okay bye-bye everyone


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