MOST people would think twice about immersing themselves up to their necks in cold water in the Tyrone countryside on a crisp autumn morning.
But a growing number of brave souls are feeling the benefits by doing just that and taking the plunge in Loughmacrory twice a week.
Every Tuesday and Thursday morning, personal trainers Paddy McGrath and Dan Fox, along with their intrepid band of disciples, step into the lough for their latest cold water therapy session.
Speaking to the Tyrone Herald, Mr McGrath, who runs PMAX Fitness at Youth Sport Omagh, admitted that it didn’t get any easier.
“We walk out gradually and take about 30 seconds to get up to our necks.
It’s a shock to the system every time! That never changes. It’s always cold, especially on the last session.
“There was a good bit of rainfall the night before, so it was really fresh.”
The gym owner had been dabbling with cold water therapy for several years before deciding to set up a dedicated group with his friend Dan.
“We picked two days a week and said we would just go for it. No excuses. The idea was to get a group going, so that there would always be someone there.
We started back in August.
“The water’s pretty cold then, but bearable. We thought that, by the time we got into the harsh winter, we’d have built up a bit of resistance to it.”
From having three people in the summer, the group has since doubled in size.
The personal trainer said that, all round, cold water therapy made you feel better.
“Since I’ve been doing it, there’s more of a spring in my step. Especially after training, in terms of recovery, I don’t feel as sore after doing sessions. It reduces inflammation.
“There’s science behind it too. It increases the neurotransmitters and endorphins (chemicals produced by the body to relieve stress and pain) and helps with anxiety and depression,” he said.
To find out more information, visit the PMAX Fitness Facebook page.