The cold doesn’t bother Poles anyway! Posted by on Jan 22, 2021 in Adventures, Culture, friends, Health, Sports

Just like in “Frozen” Elsa was not bothered by cold…well, almost like that! Morsowanie has taken off in Poland a while ago, but became especially popular this winter!

“Mors arktyczny” stands for the Arctic walrus, and thats where the name of this curious sport came from. With the promise of an energy boost (zastrzyk energii), better circulation and immune system health (lepsze krążenie i zdrowie układu odpornościowego), as well as a general sense of strange achievement, more and more bathers are taking to the icy Polish waters during winter in both the sea and lakes across the country! With the pandemic lockdowns, there is even a joke/suspicion that this may be forbidden as well (because of the amount of people who love doing it!).

My friend from Poland, Justyna, enjoying cold water swimming with a group of friends!

There are some “rules” to follow though!

It is advised to swim in places that bathers know already from the summer season, to make sure the area is familiar and the exit from the water simple and safe. Wearing water socks keeps the feet protected and you are also advised to wear a hat and to avoid submerging your hands or neck. After getting out of the icy water you should dry off quickly and get back into warm clothes and drink something hot!

I see more and more of my friends from Poland posting pictures of their cold water adventures! I love winter, but haven’t tried this particular activity yet…not yet!

So why people do it? Some do it for the sake of well-being, others want to toughen up,  or just try to weave this activity into their daily winter ritual.

You may think that swimming in cold water is one of the last things you’d dream of doing, but there’s significant health benefits attached to it and people not only in Poland, but all over the world, have figured it out!

Going in!

The effects of cold water (zimna woda) on the immune system have been studied widely. Cold water helps to boost the white blood cell count because the body is forced to react to changing conditions. Over time, your body becomes better at activating its defenses. Cold water swimming activates endorphins. This chemical is what the brain produces to make us feel good during activities. Cold water swimming is also a form of exercise, and exercise has been proven to treat depression. Cold water swimming brings us close to the pain barrier. Endorphins are released when we’re in pain, to help us cope with it.

Still not convinced? Cold water swimming flushes your veins, arteries, and capillaries. It forces blood to the surface and helps to warm our extremities. Repeated exposure adapts us to the cold.

Want to loose weight? Cold water swimming burns calories (spala kalorie)! The heart has to pump faster in cold water and the body must work harder to keep everything warm while swimming. Overall, far more calories are burned during cold water swimming than swimming in warmer conditions.

And last, but not least, it’s a great way to socialize and meet new friends! There is a great sense of community and camaraderie amongst cold water swimmers. There is nothing that brings people together like facing a challenge and sharing the experience as a group.

You don’t need to be a fitness guru – or in swimsuit model shape – just open minded, up for a challenge, and game for a laugh. This may be the favourite hobby you never knew you had!


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About the Author: Kasia

My name is Kasia Scontsas. I grew near Lublin, Poland and moved to Warsaw to study International Business. I have passion for languages: any languages! Currently I live in New Hampshire. I enjoy skiing, kayaking, biking and paddle boarding. My husband speaks a little Polish, but our daughters are fluent in it! I wanted to make sure that they can communicate with their Polish relatives in our native language. Teaching them Polish since they were born was the best thing I could have given them! I have been writing about learning Polish language and culture for Transparent Language’s Polish Blog since 2010.


  1. Frank Polanowski:

    Not me! I may be Polish, but I’m not stupid!

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