Winter swimming in Tromsø
Follow our storyteller Miek (24) on her first experience with ice bathing in Tromsø.
27. September 2023

Let’s go to Pust Tromsø! 

Winter swimming is a very popular activity in the northern countries and it is getting more and more popular over the years.  Winter swimming is swimming in open water, such as the sea, a river or a lake, with a water temperature below 5 °C. Many Scandinavian people say winter swimming is a happiness booster in the cold and dark winter days. Since the polar nights have started here in Tromsø, I need to try this for sure!

So there I am, on a cold and dark December morning, stepping outside my house and making my way to the harbour of Tromsø. The wind already felt sharp, making me not look forward a dive in ice-cold water. While passing the boats, I see the wooden sauna from Pust. I go in and make myself ready.

Ready for testing winter swimming at Pust Tromsø. Foto: Isak Hansen.

Try not to think

My advice is just to climb down the ladder and let yourself slide into the ocean. Try not to think about how cold it is! Just take some deep breaths. I stay in for maybe 20 seconds, when I decide that it has already been enough. I climb out and practically run to the sauna to warm up.

“I stay in for maybe 20 seconds, when I decide that it has already been enough.”

Pust – The sauna

The sauna is nice and cosy and fits around 20 people. There are windows in the sauna, giving you a spectacular view over the arctic bridge and the mountains. When the sauna gets too hot, the ocean is right there to cool you off in a few seconds. It is easily to get to know new people here, since jumping in the cold water immediately creates a bond with ‘fellow sufferers’. After repeating this a couple of times I feel fresh and ready to start the day at the office!

The benefits of winter swimming

Winter swimming is a super fun and new experience, winter swimming also has several benefits! Regular winter swimming leads to improvement for swimmers who suffered from diseases such as asthma or rheumatism.

Both physical – and mental health benefits are known. I listed some of the benefits below.

1. A lower blood pressure and improved circulation: both of these benefits may result in a better adaptation to the cold.

2. A boost for your immune system: winter swimming helps you immune system because it increases the number of cells that clear the sick cells in your body. Therefore, the chances on infections are lower.

3. Changes in the fat metabolism: the changes caused in the fat metabolism results in the burning of calories.

4. Antidepressant effect: winter swimmers generally feel good after a swim. This natural high is caused by an increased amount of endorphin in the brain. Endorphin is an important hormone which makes you feel happy. Stress may also reduce after a swim!

5. Social aspect: another advantage is of the bond you create with strangers during the activity. As I said before, you can really share your experience with your fellow swimmers because everyone gets cold!

But… be safe!

Winter swimming can be stressful for the body, because your whole body is exposed to ice-cold water. You will need some time to get used to the cold. Don’t jump right into the water if you are not used to winter swimming yet. Give your body the time to acclimatize, don’t stay in the water too long but most of all, have fun!

This article was written in collaboration with Pust Tromsø – find out more about them her.



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