It's supposed to be beneficial to your health... or so every Russian we've talked to about it says. But, we have yet to figure out what dipping your body into the freezing water in the dead of winter will do to your health. But, regardless of whether it's good for you or not, David took the plunge this last Saturday.
At their weekly guy's meeting at the coffee shop, Rob, Dougle, and David met Kevin. Kevin is a student here in Kharkov, originally from China. He's studying here and having an adventure. One of the things he's taken to is the winter "plunging." There's a park here with fresh water pumped out of the ground where many Kharkovians go to get free drinking water, hang out, or... swim, even in winter. We'd been there once before, but in the summer. It's a popular place for sure. Here are some photos I took on Saturday while we were there, some of people filling up their water bottles and one of two men playing table tennis. It really is a nice little park, even in the winter.
Back to Saturday... Dougle and David joined Kevin and went for their first winter swim. Here are a few pictures of the event. As you can see, it's popular enough they've built this "pool" just for the plunging. While we were there, 3 other people did the "plunge," most of them getting in the water, swimming a bit, then getting out and running around or exercising some, then coming back for another dip. We left before we saw how many times they did this. One man was jogging around in the snow with just his tennis shoes and speedo on. It made for a slightly comical sight, but showed their devotion to it's healthful benefits!
Of course the water was cold, David estimates just above freezing (Brrr!!) But, that wasn't the worst for them, David and Dougle both said the worst part was the changing rooms. There was no bench, just a marble floor that had been iced over, so they stood on ice in their bare feet before and after the swim.