An experienced education professional, Greg Gerkens has held positions like special education teacher and assistant principal. Outside of work, Greg Gerkens gives back to the community in several ways, including participating in the Polar Plunge, which benefits the Special Olympics. The Polar Plunge involves jumping into frigid water during the heart of winter to raise money for a meaningful cause.
When preparing for the event, individuals can train their bodies to handle the cold by taking brief (about 30 second) cold showers. This training helps prevent the hyperventilation associated with diving into cold water. On the actual day of the event, it is important to avoid alcohol prior to jumping in since it actually lowers body temperature. Once in the water, individuals should not spend more than a few minutes swimming since incapacitation can set in within five minutes.
While incapacitation can occur, hypothermia is unlikely unless individuals stay in the water for an extended period of time, meaning more than 30 minutes. To get warm quickly, participants should bring towels and arrange a meeting point with friends beforehand so they are not wandering in the cold air.