Written by: on January 1, 2020 @ 10:00 am

While many will be cuddling up by a warm fire or sipping hot cider on New Years Day, some choose to celebrate in a much chillier fashion. January 1st is Polar Bear Plunge Day, and the holiday celebration is just what it sounds like- an icy plunge in the middle of winter!

These human Polar Bears often take the plunge in the name of a charity or fundraiser, and while plunges take place throughout the coldest months of the year, New Year’s Day often draws some of the largest crowds!

Unlike their human plunging counterparts, Polar Bears have thick layers of fur and blubber that contribute to their ability to stay warm in freezing temperatures as low as -37 degrees Fahrenheit. They also produce high levels of nitric oxide that allow them to utilize caloric intake for thermoregulation.

Because polar bears are so well prepared for cold weather, when they are overheated they often go for a swim to cool down. They are naturally talented swimmers, and some have been recorded swimming over sixty miles!

It may seem dangerous for a person to expose themselves to such a significant drop in temperature, but the polar bear plunge is generally regarded as safe for those without pre-existing conditions. It is recommended to have the event cleared with a doctor before deciding to take the plunge.

While humans most easily adapt to temperatures above freezing, polar bears rely on consistently cold temperatures to survive. The icy environments that polar bears thrive in are crucial to their ability to hunt successfully, and the loss of sea ice due to climate change has negatively affected both the weight and overall numbers of polar bears alive today.

Participants in Polar Bear Plunge Day might feel like a human popsicle, but the results could create more than a body chill for those willing to take on the cold!

Cold-water immersion and other hydrotherapy treatments have been used for many years and originate in a variety of regions around the globe. They are said to have both mental and physical benefits, and have even been integrated into a number of spa treatments.

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