Woman Gains Staggering Following After Swimming In Freezing Cold Water For Fun

Mason Joseph Zimmer
woman nibbling on ice while swimming in freezing water
TikTok | @elinamae

Although TikTok is large enough at this point to appeal to all sorts of different people for all sorts of different reasons, we're increasingly seeing its power to bring niche interests to a surprisingly wide audience.

While it's true that the fitness and DIY communities on the platform are well-established, the mysteries of its algorithm and and its emphasis on short-form content means that people can suddenly find themselves learning about all sorts of interesting people and places they wouldn't have imagined before.

And that's likely why one woman in Finland suddenly found herself with an audience eclipsing 1 million followers simply because she likes swimming in freezing cold water.

Elina Makinen is a tax advisor from Muonio, Finland and for the past 10 years, she's swam in her region's lakes twice a day.

And as her videos tend to make clear, she specifically waits until the weather gets cold before she does this.

According to Insider, it's not unusual for temperatures in her part of Finland to dip below -22 degrees Fahrenheit, so we're talking about the kind of cold that so many of us would consider lethal.

But while she's quick to warn her followers that this habit isn't for everyone and can be deadly for the wrong bodies, Makinen says it never makes her sick and keeps her energized.

She also said that it's a more common activity in Finland than you might expect and that many of her neighbors use the same ice drills and axes she cuts through frozen lakes with to pursue similar goals.

In Makinen's words, "A lot of people on TikTok comment and ask me questions like, 'Won't you get hypothermia?' or 'How do you resist the cold?' To them, this is crazy, but to Finnish people, it's nothing."

Indeed, that's particularly true within her family as she took her first frigid plunge when she was just five years old.

But since it's much more uncommon in other nations throughout the world, her TikTok posts apparently inspired enough curiosity that she's amassed a following of over 1.4 million users.

Not only has that translated to many of Makinen's videos attaining over a million views, but this one in particular has been seen a staggering 76 million times.

And her swims take place over the right duration to record her videos, as she tends to submerge herself for between 30 seconds to six minutes at a time. When it's warm enough to safely do this, she sometimes goes up to 12 minutes.

As she put it, "I keep it shorter when it's too cold, even for me. When temperatures go below -25 degrees Celsius (-13 degrees Fahrenheit), I have to be careful not to get frostbite."

Those who have heard of similarly-inclined polar bear clubs in their areas may have noticed that they tend to be populated by older adults and according to Makinen, that was once true in Finland as well.

However, she's said that it's also become somewhat trendy among younger folks like her in recent years. For them, the endorphin rush and peace of mind they get from icy swims are similar to what others get out of yoga or meditatation.

As she said, "You definitely have to know yourself and your body. For me, it's fine to shiver a bit. Other people like to sweat when they work out. I like the shiver."

h/t: Insider

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