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Ondrej: I have been inspired by my in-laws, who started cold water swimming in their fifties

Ondrej: I have been inspired by my in-laws, who started cold water swimming in their fifties

How to start with hardening? We talked about this unconventional hobby with our lecturer Ondrej, who started to work on it more during the pandemic. Read the interview and find out if hardening is really for everyone.

What is more interesting on hardening for you? Why should you start with it?

I have been inspired by the example of my in-laws, who started cold water swimming in their fifties – my father-in-law started with swimming in general in his forties and now he says he now has to swim all yI have joined their cold-water swimming club a few years ago and have tried not to miss a season since. Last year during the pandemic, my wife motivated us to do it regularly from Jan 1st, every week or two.

Why it is good for health?

The theory says everyone should withstand at least a minute or two in ice-cold water if they do not have a serious heart condition. The two minutes is the time when you’re really starting to get the happy hormones endorphins, so I definitely recommend trying to stay at least that long 🙂

Do you think it’s for everyone?

There are people from five-year-olds to 85-year-olds in the clubs here in Slovakia – so it really is for everyone. It is safer and more fun to do it as a couple or in a club like this. However, it is recommended to check with your doctor before you start if you have any serious condition you need to deal with first. 

Is it possible to hardening also in summer, when is warm outside? How? 

I do know people who fill an ice-cold tub of water in their balcony or garden or take an ice-cold shower every day. I’m not that extreme. I always liked refreshing in colder water in warm weather and cold swimming opened up possibilities for me to swim in any weather, any stream, any lake, sea, or ocean, any time of the year. 

Which place do you like most for hardening? 

Our favourite place is the Zlaté Piesky (Golden Sands) beach in Bratislava. On a sunny day, even January can feel like summer there.I have always liked lakes – I come from the Domaša area, where I have spent many summers. So, anywhere I travel I try to find a lake like that. 

What is important to know before starting with hardening? 

One thing you might be happy to know is you do not need to take a month or two of cold showers before entering ice-cold water – the showers are actually worse! So, grab an experienced buddy, join a club, take it easy, wait for the rush of endorphins and get out while it feels warm 🙂

How many degrees was the coolest water you were in? And how long did you last?

This is not to brag but to inspire – the first time I properly joined a hardening club it was minus ten degrees outside and the pool was covered with a thick layer of ice. If I could spend a couple of minutes in there, so can you!