Have you ever had a desire to rush into freezing cold water in the middle of winter? Before you knock it, hear me out.
It may sound crazy, but the popular practice — dubbed the Polar Bear Plunge in most places — is a version of ice swimming that many hail for its therapeutic benefits. Celebrated all over the world, it’s most popular either on New Year’s Day or shortly after the New Year.
If you want to hop on the trend, Livermore Parks and Recreation is hosting its own variation, the Polar Bear Slide, on Jan.13. It gets its name from the way participants will enter the water — down a twisty slide versus jumping in. Kids 48 inches or taller are invited to join the fun.
Many partake in this, er, interesting activity as a way to cleanse themselves before the New Year. The largest plunge in the country is held in Maryland at Sandy Point State Park, where it raises funds for the Special Olympics. In 2008, an estimated 12,000 people participated. Boston may have had the first plunge in the U.S., dating back to 1904.
In California, we’re a bit luckier; temperatures don’t dip quite so low. But a plunge into unheated water in the middle of winter, especially with the big freeze the state has been experiencing, is shocking regardless.
Medically speaking, there aren’t any proven perks to the annual dip. Some reported therapeutic benefits, however, include stimulating mental processes, producing hormones that aid in stress regulation and increasing mental awareness as well as an increased feeling of overall well-being. In general, as long as a person has no underlying health issues, taking the plunge is thought to be harmless.
Whether you’re an avid plunger or looking to take your first winter dip, the Robert Livermore Aquatic Center event is a good place to start. This free slide will be held 11 a.m.-12 p.m. on Jan. 13 and après dip hot cocoa will be served to those who jump in. It’s the annual event’s twelfth year.
Register in advance by calling 925-373-5750 and use code #6007. Walk-ins are welcome.
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Source:: East Bay – Lifestyle