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Archive for the ‘health’ Category

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ITV News reports: A dip in freezing water may sound an unappealing, possibly mad prospect but the Beast from the East hasn’t stopped these brave outdoor swimmers.

Cold water swimming champion Laura Nesbitt took a dip in the water at Clevedon this morning. It was minus 3 degrees in the Marine Lake but she didn’t seem to mind.

In Cornwall, a wild swimming group known as the Battery Belles and Buoys gather for a swim off the Battery Rocks in Penzance every day at 11am. The current freezing conditions hasn’t put them off. They go swimming all year round and there is never a wetsuit in sight, regardless of how cold it is.

Membership of the UK’s Outdoor Swimming Society has grown by 30 per cent a year since it was founded in 2006, and now has 25,000 members. Wild swimming – in lakes, rivers and the sea – has become a year-round lifestyle embraced by thousands.

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The BBC report: The University of Exeter Medical School and Centre for Ecology and Hydrology carried out the study.

It concluded, compared to non-sea swimmers, the likelihood of developing an earache increases by 77% and for a gastrointestinal illness rises by 29%.

As well as swimming, the risks also apply to water sports, such as surfing.

Researchers reviewed 19 studies linking sea bathing to illness from the UK, US, Australia, New Zealand, Denmark and Norway. They analysed results from more than 120,000 people.

“In high-income countries like the UK, there is a perception that there is little risk to health of spending time in the sea,” said Dr Anne Leonard.

“However, our paper shows that spending time in the sea does increase the probability of developing illnesses, such as ear ailments and problems involving the digestive system, such as stomach ache and diarrhoea.

Dr Gaze said most people will recover from infections with no medical treatment but they can prove more serious for vulnerable people, such as the very old or very young.

He added: “We have come a long way in terms of cleaning up our waters, but our evidence shows there is still work to be done.

“We hope this research will contribute to further efforts to clean up our coastal waters.”

 

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National Geographic reports: What do Denmark, Costa Rica, and Singapore have in common? Their people feel secure, have a sense of purpose, and enjoy lives that minimize stress and maximize joy. Here’s how they do it.

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These young men leap from a 16-foot-high diving platform into Copenhagen’s harbor. A built environment that invites physical activity helps explain why Danes have among the lowest obesity rates in the world. The country frequently claims the top spot in the annual World Happiness Report, a reflection of its government-supported education, health care, and financial safety net. More…

See also: Swimming could cheer up Britain

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Winter swimmers in the Czech Republic

Time reports: Czech Seniors Stay Young by Plunging Into Freezing Cold Rivers

Among the most hardy of all the cold water swimmers is the group of pensioners who meet twice a week, whatever the weather, throughout the year in an old railway wagon at the bank of the Labe River in Pardubice, near a section of the river where the water is less than 20 meters deep.

For these senior citizens, some of whom are in their late eighties, plunging into freezing temperatures has its benefits. “Cold water swimming is as much a challenge as it is a health strategy,” Radek Kalhous, a photographer who has been capturing candid images of the swimmers, told TIME. ” It improves heart activity, vessel elasticity and the immune system in general.”

According to Kalhouse, the pensioners who swim in the Labe are hardly ever ill. “They are brimming with energy and optimism,” he said. “Local clubs are full of friends and the community is still growing. Cold water swimming is not just sport for them. It’s their lifestyle.”

According to Kalhouse, the pensioners who swim in the Labe are hardly ever ill. “They are brimming with energy and optimism,” he said. “Local clubs are full of friends and the community is still growing. Cold water swimming is not just sport for them. It’s their lifestyle.” More…

Discover where you can swim in Prague:

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The Telegraph reports:  A”nanny state” council are trying to stop Christmas bathers from having a festive dip due to health and safety concerns by taping off parts of a beach. Every year hundreds of swimmers jump in the sea on Christmas morning, but the local council want to put an end to the tradition. Brighton and Hove City Council in East Sussex announced it will take measures to try and prevent one of the city’s most famous Christmas traditions over fears swimmers will get hypothermia.

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Chris Ingall, seafront operations manager for Brighton City Council, said: “The continuing mild weather has meant that, as with last year, the seafront has been much busier than in previous winters.

“It’s been great to see so many people enjoying a stroll on the promenade and its good news for seafront businesses, but we would ask people to stay on the path or high up on the beach, especially when the sea conditions are rough.

“Sea swimming takes skill, stamina and knowledge of the physical dangers and should only be for the very experienced, using suitable wetsuits, in very calm conditions and with a friend.

“Even on a calm day sea currents, undertow or a sudden change in weather can create life threatening hazards without warning. Even experienced swimmers can get caught out.”

Compair attitudes here with those in Switzerland

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The New – Can I swim here? app…

Stuff.co.nz reports: Swimmers in New Zealand are now able to check online or via a new app to see if the beach or river they want to visit has clean swimming water.

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Regular testing at times when swimmers most often frequent bathing places, make this real-time information invaluable, setting a new standard of transparency for swimmers living in or visiting the country. More…

 

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Hindustan Times reports: Swimming, racquet sports and aerobics are associated with the best odds of staving off death, and in particular of reducing the risk of dying from heart disease or stroke, scientists said…

… research, published in the British Journal and Sports Medicine …analysed data from 11 annual health surveys for England and Scotland carried out between 1994 and 2008, covering 80,306 adults with an average age of 52. Participants were asked about what type and how much exercise they had done in the preceding four weeks, and whether it had been enough to make them breathless and sweaty.

Exercise included heavy domestic chores and gardening; walking; cycling; swimming; aerobics, gymnastics or dance; running; football or rugby; and badminton, tennis or squash. The survival of each participant was tracked for an average of nine years, during which time 8,790 of them died from all causes and 1,909 from heart disease or stroke.

In death from heart disease and stroke, the study found racquet sports players had a 56% lower risk, with 41% for swimming and 36% for aerobics, compared with those who did not participate in these sports.

Chico said …“I will continue to tell my patients that regular physical activity… is more effective in reducing their risk of heart disease than any drug I can prescribe.”

Despite the benefits of swimming the number of participants in the UK continues to drop.

Discover the full story: Hung Out to Dry Swimming and British Culture

 

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The Mirror reports: “Almost seven in 10 of bathing sites in England now meet ‘excellent’ standard set out by the EU…”

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In 2016, 287 beaches and inland swimming sites in the country met the tough top standards set out in the European Union’s Bathing Water Directive (69.5%), and 407 out of the 413 spots assessed passed the minimum grade.

But six bathing waters failed to meet even minimum standards: Scarborough South Bay, Yorkshire; Clacton (Groyne 41), Essex; Walpole Bay, Margate, Kent; Instow, Devon; Ilfracombe Wildersmouth, Devon; and Burnham Jetty North, Somerset.

The figures, which look at results for water quality over the last four years, are an improvement on 2015, the first year of results under the new EU system , when 63.6% of beaches met excellent standards.

This is partly due to improvements being made in infrastructure at or near bathing sites in recent years, which has helped reduce pollution and cut levels of harmful bacteria in swimming spots that can make people ill.

But this year’s figures are also better than 2015 because of more favourable weather conditions.

Better weather reduces the risk of overflows from sewers and storm drains and the amount of urban and agricultural pollutants washing down to the sea when there is heavy rainfall.

The 2015 results include the very wet summer of 2012, which saw water quality at bathing sites drop.

Environment Secretary Andrea Leadsom said: “England’s bathing waters are enjoyed by millions of people every year, which is why I am delighted the water quality at our beaches and lakes is better than at any time since before the Industrial Revolution. More…

 

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