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Braving winter's frigid waters

Cindy Burgess, reporter
January 29, 2013 — Polar bear swims are a New Year's day tradition across Canada, but one group in Toronto takes the plunge all winter long.

Are you brave enough to swim in the winter?
Are you brave enough to swim in the winter?

Every Sunday, members of the Toronto Winter Swimming Club go for a dip in Lake Ontario, no matter what the weather conditions or water temperature.

“You feel this energy boost, a powerful feeling, you don’t feel cold at all," says swimming club member Yaro Polowianiuk. 

Some studies suggest swimming in cold water can boost the immune system, improve circulation and skin tone and create an all-natural high.

“It’s very good against stress. You relax, you think about how to do it, about cold water and all troubles out of you," says another brave winter swimmer Alla Kibzoun. 

Cold water can be dangerous, so it's important to check with your doctor first, especially if you have cardiovascular concerns. 

Veteran swimmers also urge those who are interested to start slowly.

“I would suggest starting with something in the fall when the water’s getting gradually colder and colder. But at least with some time you get used to it and then you’re ready for the winter,” says Polowianiuk.

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