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Power of Water:  Ebba Zingmark takes us for a  swim in cold water
Sustainable living

Power of Water: Ebba Zingmark takes us for a swim in cold water

4 minute read

Water is powerful. It is the source of life for us and all living things. But as essential as water is, it means different things to different people. On World Water Day, we caught up with blogger Ebba Zingmark to find out what water means to her and how she celebrates the power of water in her own way.

What does water mean to you personally? Have you ever thought about the many ways water enriches your life? These are the questions raised by this year’s World Water Day. Because we can protect our water resource effectively only if everyone values water properly. One of the founding goals of World Water Day is sustainable access to water and sanitation for all by 2030. An objective that is in line with what drives us at our core: Hyundai’s vision of a sustainable future for all.

To join the conversation for World Water Day, we invited fashion blogger and nature lover Ebba Zingmark and her friend Sean Alexander-Cloud on a short trip outside of Berlin in our NEXO hydrogen car. With the two of them, we wanted to explore a powerful aspect of water many of us haven’t experienced before.

With H₂ to H₂O

Ebba Zingmark and friend Sean loading the Hyundai NEXO for their trip to the lake Bernsteinsee

Driving the all-new Hyundai NEXO, our first dedicated fuel cell electric vehicle that emits only pure, clean water, Ebba and Sean explore the countryside just outside Berlin to find just one thing: water. To be more precise: the ice-cold water of a lake for them to take a swim in.

Water is very important. It’s a basic human need.
For me personally, water is a way to connect to nature. EBBA ZINGMARK

Ebba Zingmark is a 25-year-old fashion blogger and comes from a small town in northern Sweden called Umeå. She loves nature, hiking, photography, her dog and currently lives between Stockholm and Berlin – together with her boyfriend Sean, who works as a music producer. Being in the great outdoors and swimming wild in lakes and rivers is very dear to Ebba. When she is at home, in the northern part of Sweden, she goes wild swimming whenever she gets a chance. "It doesn’t matter when, the water is always cold there," she says.

Kallt vatten is the Swedish term for cold water swimming. It has a long, established tradition in Sweden, but for Sean it will be only his second time. Both are excited because it is the first time they will test the cold water in Germany.

Lifestyle blogger and nature fan Ebba Zingmark in front of the Hyundai NEXO

Water temperature: ice-cold 4 °C

The lake Ebba and Sean chose is about an hour’s drive from Berlin and is called Bernsteinsee. It’s a beautiful gravel lake with a sandy beach known for its exceptionally clear and clean water. When we arrive, the sun is just bursting through the clouds. It’s an icy 0.7 °C in March and the water temperature is 4 °C. But none of this seems to bother Sean. As he steps out of the NEXO, the first thing he says is, "By driving here we only produced a little bit of water? That’s really cool!"

The beneficial effects of cold water swimming

Wellness experts say that swimming in cold water has a lot of benefits for your body. It can increase your metabolism, improve your circulation and strengthen the immune system. As Ebba and Sean get ready, she says, "The water temperature doesn’t matter to me. I know how nice the experience will be. If you do it regularly, your body gets used to it and gets warm very quickly."

Hyundai Power of Water challenge: cold swim in lake Bernsteinsee

When you step into the ice-cold water, everything inside you might say: this is insane. But afterward, you get such a big reward.EBBA ZINGMARK

Being in the moment

Like any exercise swimming in cold water helps to improve our mood and combat stress and anxiety. Many call it the "happiness effect" of cold water swimming. "There’s no better way to clear your mind," says Ebba. "You stop thinking and start feeling. You can’t help but be in the moment." As Ebba steps slowly into the lake, one can’t help but shiver at the imagination of the 4° C cold water.

Ebba Zingmark and Sean Alexander-Cloud preparing for a cold bath in the lake Bernsteinsee

Cold water swimming:
how to start and what
to be aware of

If cold water swimming sounds like something you could try as well, Ebba has a few helpful tips for you. "My advice for someone who has never done this before: Don’t start when it’s cold, start in the summer and work your way up to the colder seasons. So you get to know your body and your limits."

Take it slow

"You don’t have to rush into the water. Take one step at a time. And when you get out of the water and warm up, again, it’s important to take it slow there as well. So you don’t shock the body. Your body is still cooling down and you need to give it time to warm back up naturally. Never go too close to a heater afterward."

Hyundai Power of Water challenge: Ebba Zingmark and friend Sean stepping into the cold lake Bernsteinsee


"The cold will affect your breathing", says Sean. "You will breathe heavily. That’s normal. So, take time to acclimatize – relax and get breathing."

Don’t go too deep

"Cold water swimming is not really about swimming. It’s about being in cold water for a few minutes. So be safe and don’t go too deep. Enjoy it and get out of the water while you’re still feeling great."

Ebba Zingmark explores the power of water by a cold swim in the lake Bernsteinsee
Hyundai Power of Water challenge: Ebba Zingmark warming up after her bath in the lake Bernsteinsee

Potential risks to be aware of

• Hypothermia
• Cold water shock
• Chilblains
• Drowning

Safety measures you should take

• Never swim alone
• If possible, wear a wetsuit, neoprene shoes, gloves and a hood
• Be sure there is no strong current
• Don’t do it if you don’t feel well. If unsure, consult your doctor

I love water in all its forms. But swimming in cold water has a special heartwarming effect on me. It reminds me of home, my family, and the things I grew up with. EBBA ZINGMARK

So, is the "happiness
effect" real?

While warming up, wrapped in a blanket, Ebba says: "Yes. The feel-good effect is real. I feel really happy right now. Your brain produces all those chemicals that make you feel energized, sharp and calm at the same time." She smiles. "And you get really hungry. Now let’s go back to Berlin and grab a bite, shall we? Where’s Sean?" Sean is already sitting behind the wheels of the NEXO and pushing the start button.

Ebba Zingmarks friend Sean with woolen hat and towel after his cold swim in the lake Bernsteinsee
Ebba Zingmark with woolen hat and towel after her cold swim in the lake Bernsteinsee

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