Winter Sea Swimming In Athens
- by XpatAthens
- Tuesday, 12 January 2021
For 92-year-old Manolis and his fellow aqua-addicts of the Poseidon Winter Swimmers Club, the sea is life. Take the plunge, experience the endorphin rush, and get all the amazing health benefits of winter swimming in Athens.
Housed in an old German coastal fortification from 1942, the Poseidon Winter Swimmers Club has been open every day throughout the winter (except religious days) since 1982 and boasts a stable 160 members.** Their ages range from 20 to 92. But why do the members chose to put themselves through this pain? “The sea is life,” explains Manolis, when I return to the clubhouse. Manolis is the joint oldest regular at the club—alongside two other 92-year-olds. He comes at least twice a week throughout the winter—only staying out of the water when he’s ill or his wife tells him: ‘No’.
Manolis and the club’s president, Giorgos Argirakis, explain that winter swimming has all manner of benefits for physical and mental well-being. It’s great for a healthy heart, boosts circulation, keeps joints flexible and provides a much-needed winter dose of vitamin D. Manolis is a great advert for its supposed life-prolonging benefits, too. Looking at his lively face, bright eyes and lightly-olive skin, you wouldn’t guess he was much past 65.
Poseidon’s members are just a small cross-section section of the hundreds—perhaps thousands—who regularly take to the water throughout winter, all along the Athenian Riviera. While elsewhere in Europe, winter swimming means wetsuits or plunging into frozen lakes for just a few seconds at a time, the climate in Athens means temperatures permit (relatively) pleasurable swimming all year round.
**Note from XpatAthens: Before you head out swimming or to the swimmers club, be sure you’ve considered any Covid-19 related restrictions.
To read this article in full and see what beaches are easily accessible along the riviera visit: thisisathens.org
Photo by: Georgios Makkas
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