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Swimming in winter: the Nordic key to happiness?

Swimming in winter: the Nordic key to happiness?
Woman walking on pier towards body of water

When Dr. Susanna Søberg set out to investigate the human body’s response to the icy shock that is swimming in the winter, she wasn’t anticipating getting in the water herself.  

“My PhD. research was into healthy ‘brown fat’, a calorie burning tissue activated by cold water. Along the way I was asked many questions about the health benefits and safety aspects of cold-water swimming, and I realized there was no book on the subject. Winter Swimming is the result of my research, which has also led me to explore and enjoy the culture of cold-water swimming myself,” she said.

But the practice of swimming in frigid bodies of water year-round is nothing new in the Nordic countries. In fact, cold-water swimming and sauna culture in Scandinavia and the Baltics is something many people in the region swear by, citing its mood-boosting abilities during the long, dark winters. Now, the rest of the world is getting in. 

“A great many people took to cold-water swimming in the UK and elsewhere over the past winter for that rare lockdown endorphin rush, joining those who have been enjoying it for years,” said Katharina Biehlenberg (MacLehose Press/Quercus). “Susanna’s fascinating and expertly researched book explains why winter swimming specifically has such positive benefits, enhanced in our edition with photographs of cold-water traditions around the world.”

Tune in Sunday, November 7 for a virtual conversation with Dr. Søberg. Her book, Winter Swimming: The Nordic Way Towards a Happier and Healthier Life describes her recent research into fat-reduction through winter swimming at Tryg Foundation’s Center for Physical Activity, and invites you to dip your own toes in the water.

Dr. Søberg’s discussion is part of the Museum’s Meet the Author series, a sequence of intimate virtual book talks aimed at introducing the public to some of the best Nordic authors being published in translation today. The conversation will be moderated by translator and literary expert Dr. Elizabeth DeNoma, followed by a question-and-answer session with the author.


Woman walking on pier towards body of water