An icy dive into a healthy future

A winter swimmer diving into the icy waters of a river at a park in Shenyang, in China's Liaoning province, on Monday.

Winter swimming, which sees enthusiasts breaking into iced-up waterways for dips, is said to stave off illness and is popular in many parts of China.

It is especially popular among the elderly, as it is believed to improve circulation and benefit health.

It is also said to increase mental awareness, release stress, relieve aches and pains, and keep the skin looking younger.

There are several hundred Chinese clubs dedicated to winter swimming. It even has government backing.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 20, 2017, with the headline 'An icy dive into a healthy future'. Print Edition | Subscribe