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Courtesy of Destination NSW

If the mere thought of going for a swim during winter makes you shiver to the core, perhaps you should reconsider because there are many benefits to both your physical and mental health.

Here’s six reasons why you should take the plunge into our coastal waters this winter:

1. Fitness

Whether you’re swimming for recreation or competition, swimming gives you a great work out. Your heart must pump faster in cold water which means you’ll burn more calories, your cardio fitness improves, and you develop endurance. Plus, there is no excuses because you can do it rain, hail or shine!

2. Boost your immune system

Cold water helps to boost your white blood cell count because the body is forced to react to changing conditions. Over time, your body becomes better at activating its defences.

3. Build muscle tone and strength

Swimming uses almost all muscles in your body! It’s a resistance exercise that builds muscle and strength for a whole-body workout. It helps you develop deep stabilising muscles in your core which are often missed. And it’s a perfect non-impact activity as your body becomes lighter in water which takes pressure off your joints.

4. Get a natural high

When exercising, your brain produces endorphins which are known as the “feel good” chemical that boost your mood. Swimming has been shown to alleviate stress and tension. it is also a meditative exercise, the repetition, movement and breathing can help you to relax.

5. Socialise

Whilst swimming is an individual sport, you only need to head down to Manly at any time of day to see that it’s also very social! From toddlers to grandparents and everyone in between, swimming is for people of all ages.

6. It’s stunning

Thanks to microscopic algae being at a minimum in winter, the water clarity is top notch and you feel like you can see for miles. The marine life in Cabbage Tree Bay is so diverse, you are likely to see thousands of fish. The algae will bloom again in spring like flowers, so get in quick!