Big Picture

Break the ice, it's time to swim

Some people, it appears, like it cold.

Like this woman, who is enjoying a swim in a partially frozen lake at a park in Shenyang, Liaoning province, in north-east China.

Rather than hunker down in a warm house to avoid the cold, many people in northern China embrace the winter weather, exposing themselves to the elements by swimming in frozen lakes and rivers.

Winter swimming is especially popular among the elderly as it is believed to improve circulation and benefit health, and is also said to increase mental alertness, relieve stress, aches and pains, and keep the skin looking younger.

Swimmers break a hole in a frozen river surface and jump in, using sticks and brooms to sweep ice off the surface as it forms.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 02, 2015, with the headline 'Break the ice, it's time to swim'. Print Edition | Subscribe