Polar Bear Plunge Day
Take off your bathing suit and walk a few steps across the snow and ice. Then, plunge your body into the ice-cold water. Sound like fun? It does sound like fun, and there are many people who believe it is. Every year, these people come together! It may be for charity or a challenge. But every year, thousands of people around the world brave the cold waters of winter.
These swims, which are often in the ocean, are known as “Polar Bear Swims”.
Polar Bear swims have been practiced in many countries for over 100 years. Boston 1904 was the first time a Polar Bear Swim was recorded. Many Canadian communities have a tradition of swimming in icy waters for New Year’s Day. Vancouver’s Polar Bear Swim Club was founded in 1920. It has between 1,000 and 2,000 members every New Year’s Day. In 2000, a record 2,128 people participated in the Polar Bear Swim in English Bay.
The Netherlands seem to have outdone North America. Since 1960, approximately 10,000 people have been diving into Scheveningen’s icy seawater every year. It is believed that 30,000 people participate in “Nieuwjaarsduik”, a New Year’s Eve dive, each year.
New Year’s Day seems to be the best day to do this type of swim. Participants have reported that it is the most enjoyable because you are ready for whatever challenge comes your way. Some swimming clubs offer regular winter sessions. Plungapalooza, the largest polar bear plunge event in America, is held every year at Sandy Point State Park in Maryland.
This event raises money for the Special Olympics and has raised millions of dollars. With 12,000 participants, 2008 was the largest Plungapalooza.
How to Celebrate Polar Bear Plunge Day
Participate! Register to find out when the Polar Bear Plunge Day is being held near you. It’s a great way to meet new people, raise money, and create unforgettable memories. Keep in mind, however, that humans don’t have as much fat or fur as polar bears to keep them warm from the cold.
Slowly enter the water to avoid shock. Make sure you have towel and dry clothes on hand for when you get out of the water. Warm up your body from the inside with a warm drink or a bowl of soup afterward. You may not be able to do the Polar Bear Swim. It can cause intense bodily reactions, such as hyperventilation and a sudden inability to take deep breaths for the first 30 seconds. Your heart rate and blood pressure will likely increase dramatically.
If you are prone to panic attacks or have a heart condition, it is best to stand on the shore with a scarf, warm coat and scarf and take pictures. Then, laugh at the people who run out of water just as fast as they came in. You will still be able to enjoy the party, regardless of your health condition.