Polar Plunge

By Reid Tileston ‘15

What better way is there to spend a Saturday morning than dressing up in costume, having a few frosty beverages, and running into chilly lake Michigan. That is exactly what the Chicago business editorial staff and friends did on Saturday in an effort to build team camaraderie, have some fun, and help raise money for some Chicago families in need.

After being cancelled last year due to extreme weather, thank you Polar Vortex, the 14th Annual Lakeview Polar Plunge was a success this year with over 400 participants and over $15,000 raised for two Chicago families in need. Plunge time weather was near perfect at 41 degrees with only a light breeze to boot. Despite this Warren Yates noted that, “everyone had cold feet.” Which is understandable because  while the temperature outside was nice, the water was not as accommodating at a chilly 33 degrees. “Brrrrrr” is how Editor in Chief  Mo Bhasin described it.

An interesting fact about doing a Polar Plunge is that participants often, “talk about being full of energy, and they perceive that this has done them good," says Mike Tipton, a professor of Human & Applied Physiology at University of Portsmouth, "but that's because the body is responding to a stress with a 'fight-or-flight' response and preparing to get you out of that environment, and that may well give you a feeling of quasi-euphoria. In healthy people, an adrenaline surge can trigger irregular heart rhythms and in those with heart conditions, the surge could trigger a heart attack.” Luckily there were no heart attacks but that does help explain the counterintuitive burst of energy that we all got after getting out of the water.

The oldest Polar Plunge belongs to the The Coney Island Polar Bear Club has been putting on a New Year’s day Polar Plunge since 1903, a good option for those east coasters who are looking to start 2016 off with a bang.

If after reading this article you are struck with a sudden FOMO attack. fear not. The Chicago Special Olympics Polar Plunge is being held on Sunday March 1st, which last year featured Mayor Emanuel and Jimmy Fallon, and it would not take much to convince me to do it again.

Special shout out to Tracy Li for being the group photographer.

Reid Tileston is a second year at Chicago Booth.