I am a reasonably experienced swimmer and I was swimming in the nearby lake almost every day through the summer and autumn. I live in northern Europe, and I was still swimming occasionally in October when the water was around 15 degrees Celsius, and had no problem with it.
Yesterday the weather was nice and sunny, so I thought I would give it a try and dip in the water, which was around 1-2 degrees Celsius (the nearby puddles were frozen). I read a lot about the benefits of cold water, and was curious to try. I am generally fit and healthy and many people do ice dipping around this time of the year, so I thought why not.
I was only able to stay in about a minute as it was very cold, but I felt very good afterwards so I went in for another minute. Then I covered myself if a thermo blanket, drank some hot tea, walked home, and took a warm shower. However, I got very exhausted and slept for the rest of the day, and also through the night (around 12 hours, which is unusual).
Cold water therapy is reported to have an energising effect and a positive impact on fitness:
When compared to a control group on the profile of mood states rating scale, winter swimmers experience less stress and fatigue and more vigor. They report to have a better memory function, better mood and feel more energetic, active and brisk.
I can confirm the positive impact on mood. However, I was definitely experiencing more fatigue and was feeling less energetic afterwards.
Is it normal to feel exhausted after a short dip in extremely cold water?