Taking the Polar Bear Plunge

Here in Central Florida, we don’t have to worry about polar temperatures when we take a dip in the pool—but in other parts of the country and across the world, that’s exactly what people are doing!

Why are people all around the world taking the “polar bear plunge?” We’re looking at why—and how this seemingly odd tradition can do a lot of good—in today’s blog.


The tradition

A polar bear plunge is an event where people will enter into a cold body of water—during the already cold winter months! This is done for a variety of reasons, like to ring in the New Year, for example… although it is not limited to January 1st. People may don silly outfits or their bathing suits. Many participants are seasoned plungers and will return every year, while others no doubt take the plunge as dares from friends.

No matter their reason for plunging, however, the fact remains that thousands of people all around the world do it (and come back to do it) every year. Countless more in cold areas take the plunge in the comfort of their own backyard pools!


The good cause

Polar bear plunges attract participants for both the thrill and for the good cause. Plunges in the United States have benefited the Special Olympics and Make-A-Wish Foundation, to name just a few groups supported by the plunge. This makes taking the plunge a worthwhile activity for everyone who participates.


If you take the plunge…

If you decide to take the plunge this winter, there are a few things to keep in mind to stay safe and enjoy the experience as much as possible:

  • Practice beforehand. While it may not seem like there’s much to practice—since participants only have to rush into the cold water and are free to leave whenever they’re ready—there are ways to prepare your body for the shocking cold it will experience. You can do this in the shower by switching to cold water for small periods of time. This may not seem like much, but it helps to give you an idea of what to expect ahead of time.
  • Pack warm, dry clothes for after the plunge. Following your time in the water, you will no doubt be ready to get warm and cozy again, so prepare an outfit (with perhaps an extra blanket or two!) to slip into.
  • Have fun! Unless you actively pursue the plunge every year, this may be the only time you experience such a unique sensation surrounded by thousands of other people doing the exact same thing. Smile and have fun despite the cold, and be sure to take lots of photos to remember the day later on.

As you can see, taking the plunge may be daunting… but if you’re ever in a cold area, and are safe about doing so, your plunge can benefit a great cause! (In the meantime, however, we will enjoy our warm water and sunny skies here in Florida.)


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