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Title:RUSSIA: MOSCOW: ANNUAL ICE BATHING
Duration:02:12
Viewed:494,638
Published:20-07-2015
Source:Youtube

Russian/Nat

The Soviet Union has disintegrated and the Russian Empire came and went -- but there's one tradition in Russia that continues to endure.

Every winter, hundreds of Russian bathers break the ice to take a dip in the Moskva river.

These bathers, otherwise referred to as walruses, swear by their annual ice-bathing, claiming it saves thousands of roubles in doctor's fees.

Fifteen below zero on the thermometer and six inches of snowfall overnight -- perfect weather for a refreshing dip in the Moskva river.

While Russia's new class of wealthy have fled the Russian winter for the shores of Thailand and Southern Turkey some Muscovites prefer a dip closer to home.

Dubbed the walruses, these Muscovites gather throughout the winter months to test their mettle against the elements.

Veterans reckon a regular plunge saves thousands of roubles on doctor's fees.

Some claim even greater benefits.

Committed ice-bathers believe a quick dip followed by a couple of shots of vodka rewards the serious adherent with spiritual and even aphrodisiac properties.

SOUNDBITE: (In Russian)
It means health and certainty in the future. I recommend ice-swimming to all women!
SUPER CAPTION: Lyudmilla Starostina, Russian cold water swimmer

Ice bathing is no passing fad -- Russians have been doing it for
centuries.

SOUNDBITE: (In Russian)
Your mood improves, especially if you get into a regime. And you can work better too.
SUPER CAPTION: Boris Smirnov, Russian swimmer

And, as veterans are quick to point out, it's a lot cheaper than exercise bikes, aromatherapy and magic crystals.


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