Men who swim outdoors in the winter are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes compared to those who swim in the summer, new research shows.

Academics from UiT The Arctic University of Norway and the University Hospital of North Norway have found that swimming in cold water can remove unhealthy body fat in men.

More than 100 research reports have found that swimming in cold water is beneficial for your health and can prevent the development of heart disease and obesity.

Top author James Mercer said: “From this review, it is clear that there is increasing scientific support that voluntary exposure to cold water may have some beneficial health effects.

“Many of the studies demonstrated significant effects of cold-water immersion on various physiological and biochemical parameters. But the question as to whether these are beneficial or not for health is difficult to assess.”

He added: “Based on the results from this review, many of the health benefits claimed from regular cold exposure may not be casual.

“Instead, they may be explained by other factors including an active lifestyle, trained stress handling, social interactions, as well as a positive mindset.

“Without further conclusive studies, the topic will continue to be a subject of debate.”

Swimming in cold water can also improve people’s mental health, trigger weight loss and increase libido, the research has reported.

Prior studies have also detected that cold water swimming improves an individual’s blood circulation, immune system, adipose tissue, oxidative stress and inflammation.

This review has been published in the peer-reviewed International Journal of Circumpolar Health.

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