Over 100 men plunge into the cold waters at Cherry Beach for men’s health
Over 100 men showed support for men’s mental and physical health this morning by plunging into the cold waters at Cherry Beach.
According to the event’s organizer, Evan Smith, it’s been five years of “stubbornness and persistence” in building the community.
“The first one was me on my own in 2018,” Smith said in an interview with CP24. “It was just me and my brother. I did my own fundraising.”
Since then, it’s grown to be an annual event with groups of men attending to support the cause – in the cold, in November, in speedos.
“This is the great thing about Movember, for people in general and then for dudes – we don’t like to open up and talk to each other – so when we get together and we do something questionably dumb, like this, it gets people talking.”
Movember is an annual movement aimed to bring attention to men’s health – both physical and mental. Throughout November, men are encouraged to grow out mustaches or to donate funds to the Movember organization. Health topics that are addressed include prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health.
In this case, the polar plunge is part of the ways in which these men are bringing attention to these issues.
One attendee says that for him, the event is an important way to open up and to encourage others to.
“As a queer guy, it can get a little rough,” Conor said in an interview. “It can get a little rough – it can be hard sometimes to talk about your mental health, but when you have causes like this it sort of encourages people to talk out and to speak about their own issues.
“It’s good – especially for young men.”
Interestingly enough, there are possible health benefits for polar plunges.
According to the European Journal of Applied Physiology, cold therapy has been tried and tested since 3500 BC, cited by ancient Greek physician Hippocrates’ On Airs, Waters and Places. His belief in water as being an ultimate cure influenced later Roman physician Claudius Galen to advocate for its use in treating fevers, the journal says.
In our modern age, though, short-term cold water immersion has been found to promote effective recovery following exercise. In addition, recent scientific evidence found that swimming in cold water reduces fatigue, lessens depressive symptoms and improves general well-being.
However, it is still cold.
It was Conor’s first time doing the plunge. He says that it can put you into “a little bit of a shock sometimes.”
“You keep wanting to yell, to get out that pain, but then once you’re out, you’re fine,” he said.
The men stayed in the water for 60 seconds. A homage, Smith says, to the 60 men who die by suicide every hour around the world.
“The 60 seconds represent the 60 men who die by suicide around the world every hour,” he said. “So we stay in the water for 60 seconds to honour those men.”
All proceeds from the plunge go towards the Movember Campaign – a campaign that raises funds for men’s mental health initiatives as well as for prostate and testicular cancer.
“It’s just good energy. Spread the word and the event sells itself, I think, when people come here.”