CHINA   -  YINCHUAN (Xinhua/APP): In Yinchuan's frozen Beita Lake, a two-meter wide, 10-meter long water lane was created by winter swimming lovers like Wang Baosheng. In the early afternoon, Wang Baosheng, 69, came to Beita Lake and prepared to go into the icy water.

"Although the water temperature is around three degrees Celsius today, the moment I walk into water, I feel as if the coldness is biting my bones," said Wang. He still managed to clench his teeth and overcome this challenge.

Swimming outdoors in winter, often regarded as a battle for warriors, is thought to be beneficial for resistance against the cold and illness. Wang has been swimming outdoors in winter for more than two decades, and for him, this sport is more like "vascular gymnastics" than a mere challenge.

According to Wang, Beita Lake is just one of the three winter swimming bases in Yinchuan, the capital of Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region.

63-year-old Yang Hongli couldn't agree with this more. He has been trying to regain his health through diet and regular exercise like jogging, since he was diagnosed with hyperlipidemia, hyperglycemia and hypertension 20 years ago. But because of that, his plan to swim outdoors in winter was thought to be dangerous and was once highly opposed by his family.

"I went for a health examination three years ago, and most of my body indexes are back to normal," Yang said, "My family support me now." In order to let more benefit from this activity, he started an organization in Yinchuan that has over 60 regular members.

Huang Chunying, 52, joined the organization this winter and is one of three female members.  "I have been doing outdoor swimming since the very beginning of this winter. I just swam back, and I feel good," said Huang.

                According to Yang Hongli, members in the organization will always look after each other when they go into the icy water.  "Winter swimming is good for us, but we need to be sure that safety always comes first."