“Think of it like our version of yoga or meditation,” says cold-water swimmer Elina Makinen.
VIDEO: Finnish Influencer Goes Viral With Icy Plunges In Minus 25 Degree Temps
A Finnish influencer has wowed TikTok with her clips showing her making holes in the ice and enjoying freezing cold dips in the water.
Elina Makinen boasts 1.4 million followers on TikTok and numerous clips of her bathing in icy cold water, as if it is a warmed swimming pool, went viral.
In her TikTok bio, she says: “Keeping head cold with ice swimming.”
In one video viewed a 76.5 million times, Makinen is seen entering the icy water when it is minus 13 degrees (minus 25 Celsius) outside.
Makinen, who lives in the municipality of Muonio, in the north of Finland, said she has been practicing the hobby since she was five years old.
Many people in Finland have their own axes to do these things,” the influencer, who works as a tax advisor, told Insider. “There are ice swimming clubs, of course, where people can go, but a lot of them closed, due to COVID. So people just dig their own ice holes and swim wherever they want.”
In some of her videos, the TikToker is seen using an axe or drill to make holes in the ice before plunging into the water.
Makinen said: “A lot of people on TikTok ask me questions such as: ‘Won’t you get hypothermia?’ ‘How do you resist the cold?’ For them, this is a little crazy, but for Finns, it is nothing.
“Think of it like our version of yoga or meditation. It is as much for calmness as it is for an endorphin rush.
“I swim once in the morning, and it helps my blood circulation and makes me feel energized. Then I swim again at night, and it helps me de-stress. I always sleep well afterwards.”
She said she usually spends between 30 seconds and six minutes in the water, but has been known to go ice swimming for up to 12 minutes. “I keep it shorter when it’s too cold, even for me. When the air temperature drops below minus 25 degrees Celsius, I have to be careful not to freeze.”
There are numerous benefits to cold-water swimming, such as jump-starting the metabolism, which burns calories. Other benefits include pain relief, boosting the immune system and lymphatic circulation, as well as improving the libido in men. The practice is also associated with staying in shape and metal clarity, according to wetsuit maker Orca.
People who practice cold-water swimming work up to it over time, often starting with cold showers for 30 seconds.
Edited by Fern Siegel and Kristen Butler