Body Composition Analysis in Regular Winter Swimmers and People Who do Not Use this Form of Recreation

Roland Wesołowski, Celestyna Mila-Kierzenkowska, Alina Woźniak, Tomasz Boraczyński, Paweł Sutkowy



Introduction: Winter swimming is a form of physical recreation that involves bathing in cold water during winter. The aim of the study was to analyse the body composition in people who regularly take baths in ice-cold water.

Material and methods: The study included 20 men. Half of them (mean age 27.7 ± 7.1 years) were regularly taking baths in cold water (winter swimmers) at least for a year, while the rest (mean age 27.0 ± 4.0 years) had never performed such a treatment (controls). In each subject, a body composition profile was evaluated, including: body mass index (BMI), body mass (BM kg), body fat percentage (BF%), fat mass (FM kg), fat-free mass (FFM kg), the fat mass-to-fat-free mass ratio (FM/FFM%), total body water (TBW% and TBW kg) and muscle mass (MM% and MM kg). The measurements were taken using the body composition analyser Tanita - BC 418 MA, which employed the BIA (Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis) method, and via anthropometric measurements.

Results: The BMI value among the winter swimmers was significantly higher than among people not practising winter swimming. Moreover, in the winter swimmers, higher BF % and FM/FFM% ratio values, as well as a lower MM% value were found, as compared with the controls.

Conclusions: The obtained results suggest that the choice of bathing in cold water as a form of recreation may depend on the content of the adipose tissue. The tissue constitutes an insulating layer which efficiently protects overweight people from an excessive heat loss.


body composition; cold temperature; winter swimming

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