Last December, one of my Facebook friends began posting photos of herself dunking into frozen Big Lake. Willingly. Smiling. She even invited others to join her.

"Local friends: we’re hopping into Big Lake at 3:15 today if you’ve been wanting to try it," she said on Facebook. "It’s a great first time to go because I’ll be muttering all my favorite choice words right with ya."

I had absolutely no desire to jump into freezing waters, but apparently others were more willing -- the Monticello Times even did a write-up on the group of cold-water swimmers who jumped in. That was back when temperatures were tolerable, mind you, which is what makes this next woman absolutely nuts.

A video shared to Youtube this past weekend shows a Minnesota woman jumping into freezing lake waters with an air temperature of -10 degrees.

"Ice hole bathing during a -10F sunset in Northern Minnesota," reads the video's title. "When it gets this cold, the best I can do is lean in," the caption reads.

Why? WHY would you put yourself through such torture?!
Apparently, there are actually health benefits to cold water swimming, also known as cold thermogenesis. According to the Monticello Times, "Studies show that the cold water improves your circulation, burns calories, reduces stress, and even boosts your immune system." My friend, too, lists a number of health benefits including "increased circulation, decrease in inflammation, mood boost, burns hundreds of calories, cackling with your friends" and "stretching yourself and what you think you can't do."
One Finnish author, journalist and cold-water swimmer interviewed by CNN even claims that the nationwide past time of dipping into frigid waters is one of the reasons why Finland tends to rank as one of the happiest countries in the world!
All that to say, I might be willing to cold-water dip...but certainly not when it's -10 degrees out!

Have you ever taken a polar plunge? Would you?

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