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FITNESS, HEALTH, WELLNESS

features

Research: Cold dip

New studies have revealed the potential benefits of exposure to low temperatures and swimming in icy waters, which can promote the development of brown fat and reduce cancer risk

Published in Health Club Management 2023 issue 3
Health clubs that organise cold water swimming now have more evidence of its efficacy / Photo: Shutterstock/PhotoRK
Health clubs that organise cold water swimming now have more evidence of its efficacy / Photo: Shutterstock/PhotoRK
Turning down the thermostat activates heat-producing brown fat that consumes the sugars that cancerous tumours need to thrive

With some operators turning down the thermostat on their pools to save energy and customers increasingly interested in wild swimming as part of their health regime, cold is the new hot. Two new academic studies delve into the benefits.

Boosting ‘good’ fat
In a review of multiple scientific papers, researchers from Norway say there’s evidence that an icy swim may increase ‘good’ body fat and reduce the risk of diabetes.

The review, published in the International Journal of Circumpolar Health, analysed 104 studies looking at the health benefits of cold water swimming, paying attention to sample size and other limitations.

Themes covered by studies that were eligible for review included inflammation, adipose tissue, blood circulation, immune system and oxidative stress. Some of these provided evidence that cardiovascular risk factors are improved in swimmers who have adapted to the cold while others suggest the workload on the heart is increased.

The authors highlighted the positive links between cold water swimming and brown adipose tissue (BAT), a type of ‘good’ body fat that’s activated by cold.

BAT burns calories to maintain body temperature unlike ‘bad’ white fat which stores energy.

According to the review, cold exposure in water – or air – appears also to increase the production of adiponectin, a protein which plays a key role in protecting against insulin resistance, diabetes and other diseases. In conclusion, the researchers said there are obvious upsides, but more evidence is needed to identify risks associated with cold water immersion.

Tumour suppression
A separate study by Swedish scientists at the Karolinska Institute found that low temperatures make it more difficult for cancer cells to grow.

Published in the journal Nature, the paper compared tumour growth and survival rates in mice with various types of cancer, when exposed to cold versus warm living conditions. Mice acclimatised to temperatures of 4˚C had significantly slower tumour growth and lived nearly twice as long compared with mice in rooms of 30˚C.

The theory is that turning down the thermostat activates heat-producing brown fat that consumes the sugars that tumours need to thrive. Corresponding author professor Yihai Cao says: “We found that cold-activated brown adipose tissue [BAT] competes against tumours for glucose and can help inhibit tumour growth in mice.

“Our findings suggest that cold exposure could be a promising novel approach to cancer therapy, although this needs to be validated in larger clinical studies.”

More: www.hcmmag.com/coldimmersion

https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/2023/309922_167289.jpg
New research from scientists in Norway and Sweden reveal how regular exposure to low temperatures and swimming in icy water may bring benefits that include a boost in healthy ‘brown fat’ and reduced cancer risk
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features

Research: Cold dip

New studies have revealed the potential benefits of exposure to low temperatures and swimming in icy waters, which can promote the development of brown fat and reduce cancer risk

Published in Health Club Management 2023 issue 3
Health clubs that organise cold water swimming now have more evidence of its efficacy / Photo: Shutterstock/PhotoRK
Health clubs that organise cold water swimming now have more evidence of its efficacy / Photo: Shutterstock/PhotoRK
Turning down the thermostat activates heat-producing brown fat that consumes the sugars that cancerous tumours need to thrive

With some operators turning down the thermostat on their pools to save energy and customers increasingly interested in wild swimming as part of their health regime, cold is the new hot. Two new academic studies delve into the benefits.

Boosting ‘good’ fat
In a review of multiple scientific papers, researchers from Norway say there’s evidence that an icy swim may increase ‘good’ body fat and reduce the risk of diabetes.

The review, published in the International Journal of Circumpolar Health, analysed 104 studies looking at the health benefits of cold water swimming, paying attention to sample size and other limitations.

Themes covered by studies that were eligible for review included inflammation, adipose tissue, blood circulation, immune system and oxidative stress. Some of these provided evidence that cardiovascular risk factors are improved in swimmers who have adapted to the cold while others suggest the workload on the heart is increased.

The authors highlighted the positive links between cold water swimming and brown adipose tissue (BAT), a type of ‘good’ body fat that’s activated by cold.

BAT burns calories to maintain body temperature unlike ‘bad’ white fat which stores energy.

According to the review, cold exposure in water – or air – appears also to increase the production of adiponectin, a protein which plays a key role in protecting against insulin resistance, diabetes and other diseases. In conclusion, the researchers said there are obvious upsides, but more evidence is needed to identify risks associated with cold water immersion.

Tumour suppression
A separate study by Swedish scientists at the Karolinska Institute found that low temperatures make it more difficult for cancer cells to grow.

Published in the journal Nature, the paper compared tumour growth and survival rates in mice with various types of cancer, when exposed to cold versus warm living conditions. Mice acclimatised to temperatures of 4˚C had significantly slower tumour growth and lived nearly twice as long compared with mice in rooms of 30˚C.

The theory is that turning down the thermostat activates heat-producing brown fat that consumes the sugars that tumours need to thrive. Corresponding author professor Yihai Cao says: “We found that cold-activated brown adipose tissue [BAT] competes against tumours for glucose and can help inhibit tumour growth in mice.

“Our findings suggest that cold exposure could be a promising novel approach to cancer therapy, although this needs to be validated in larger clinical studies.”

More: www.hcmmag.com/coldimmersion

https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/2023/309922_167289.jpg
New research from scientists in Norway and Sweden reveal how regular exposure to low temperatures and swimming in icy water may bring benefits that include a boost in healthy ‘brown fat’ and reduced cancer risk
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Self Esteem Brands (SEB), owner of Anytime Fitness, has released year-end results which show year-on-year ...
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Featured supplier news: Panatta shares the secrets behind the Three Angles Biceps Machine
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Company profile: Keiser UK LTD
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Click on a catalogue to view it online
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Precor UK press release: Precor launches new functional strength training line powered by BeaverFit
Precor, trusted fitness solution provider to more than 14,000 global facilities, has selected BeaverFit, the world’s largest supplier of fitness equipment to U.S. and NATO militaries, to design and manufacture their new functional training line.
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The Health & Fitness Institute press release: THFI Launches Wellness Coaching Qualification Aimed at NHS Relief and Economic Boost
Recent data from UK Active has revealed that a shocking 25% of the UK’s population is classed as ‘inactive,’ averaging less than 30 minutes of exercise a week.
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Diary dates
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Diary dates
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Diary dates
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Diary dates
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