It’s not what you expect to see on a cold February morning – six University of Sunderland students jumping into the North Sea.
But this wasn’t just some random winter dip, but rather the group were taking part in Cold Water Immersion, a therapy which aims to offer the brave participants a whole host of health benefits.
Everything from anxiety and depression to muscle repair and happiness levels can apparently benefit from a freezing adventure.
So this group of hardy students from the University were keen to take part in the first immersion therapy session held at Roker Beach in Sunderland.
Dan Kendal, 25, a third year Sports Coaching student, hoped the therapy might help him deal with some anxiety issues.
Dan, from Fulwell, Sunderland, said: “I thought I would give this a go to see if it helped a little bit.
“To be honest, I really enjoyed it – once I got over the initial trauma – even though I never expected to.
“It was strange to feel something working against your natural senses. The adrenaline rush along made it worthwhile.”
The group of students received expert guidance in the immersion session from staff of Roker’s Adventure Sunderland Marine Activity Centre,
Chris Binks, 23, is a third year Sports Coaching student who has had ice baths in the past – but never one quite this big.
He said: “I do quite a lot of coaching in schools and I do boxing fitness classes, as well as playing football so I use ice baths to help reduce inflammation but I’ve never done anything like this before.”
The former Harton School pupil, from South Shields, added: “I’m willing to try anything once and this was good fun.”
Cold water immersion, like cold water swimming, is becoming increasingly popular off the North East coast, with several clubs dedicated to plunging into the freezing temperatures.
Sam Zeman, 22, is a third year Biopharmaceutical student who is originally from Slokavia but currently living in Sunderland.
He said: “This is not my first time taking part in cold water activities, but I do like to try all types of things and this was a good opportunity.”
Suggested benefits of cold water therapy include improvement to lymphatic and cardiovascular circulation, reducing muscle inflammation, and boosting happiness levels.
Dawood Ahmed, 22, is a first year Sports and Exercise Science student, originally from Kuwait.
He said: “I wanted to come out and have an adventure; to do something crazy and this was crazy.
“My feet feel numb and, in some ways it was like a form of torture, but I would definitely do it all over again.”
The therapy was organised by University of Sunderland Sports Development Officer Rob Graham, who is part of Team Sunderland.