Maintaining optimal performance and enhancing our well-being is what we actively seek out as an athlete. We train on a regular basis and have still managed to find time for weights in between this. In the process of getting ourselves in the best shape of our life we have to take our recovery just as seriously as we do our time spent on the mats or at the gym. In this article, we will discuss 17 health benefits that you could receive from Cold Plunging if you are someone who trains regularly.
1) Relieves Muscle Soreness
Muscle soreness is a by-product of pushing ourselves in the gym and throughout training sessions at jiu-jitsu. Whether or not you participate in the sport, relieving muscle soreness is a great way to keep your training routine on schedule.
We hate even mentioning the excuse of being too sore to work out so the added benefits of cold therapy in our routine have been a game changer. Cold Plunging has been a regular practice in the world of sports and is just now reaching the masses. Back in the day, ice baths were a great way to prevent injuries and alleviate muscle soreness, in today’s modern world we have the Cold Plunge Tub.
Taking a plunge a couple of times a week after a workout has been proven to give you more energy and leaves you relieved from pain.
2) Boost Your Immune System
Cold Plunging can boost your immune system by stimulating the release of Endorphins and Adrenaline, which helps improve circulation and raises white blood cell count. It also promotes healthy lymphatic flow, helping to rid the body of toxins, bacteria, and viruses.
The cold water also helps strengthen your body’s natural defense mechanism by increasing its ability to fight off viruses and other infections.
3) Reduces inflammation
A Cold Water Plunge has a powerful effect on the body, due to its ability to reduce inflammation and improve blood circulation. Cold Water Plunges cause Vasoconstriction, which is the narrowing of blood vessels in response to cold temperature.
This constriction reduces inflammation, allowing nutrients and oxygen to be better circulated through the body. Additionally, when taking a Cold Water Plunge, the body releases Norepinephrine and Endorphins, both of which help improve overall circulation by increasing blood flow throughout the entire body. Cold water also helps to invigorate the lymphatic system, which removes toxins from cells and carries them away from the body.
4) Prevents (and improves) mental health conditions such as depression
There are many mental health benefits to Cold Water Plunges. . First, the shock of cold water can act as a distraction from intrusive thoughts, worries or anxieties. The physical sensation of the cold can interrupt the thought pattern and provide a break from rumination. The shock of cold water may also stimulate the body to release endorphins, which are natural mood-enhancing chemicals that help reduce stress levels and boost feelings of well-being.
Additionally, submerging oneself in cold water can activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for reducing heart rate and blood pressure and calming down an individual after stressful situations. Regular exposure to cold water may therefore lead to improved stress management skills. Finally, regular exposure to cold water has been linked to increased resilience against depression and anxiety due to its ability to regulate hormones such as Cortisol and Serotonin.
5) Improves Your Sleep
Cold Water Plunges can help improve sleep by reducing inflammation, improving circulation, and increasing the amount of oxygen to your tissues. By reducing inflammation, cold water plunges can reduce the amount of pain and stiffness in your body. Improvement in the circulation of the blood in the body means that more blood is flowing to your muscles and organs. Increased oxygenation helps promote relaxation and improved sleep quality. Cold Water Plunges may also release endorphins which can help to improve mood and reduce stress levels.
6) Blood Vessels: Improves Blood Circulation
On a cellular level, cold exposure has a profound impact on the body. People around the world have been using cold therapy for centuries. The temperature of the water you use has a profound impact on your overall health.
Exposure to cold water causes the blood vessels on the surface of the skin to constrict. This diverts blood flow away from the surface of the skin. As blood travels away from the skin, blood vessels in deeper body tissues dilate. This improves blood flow circulation to the deeper tissues.
7) Boosts Your Mood
The Cold Water Plunge can have a profound impact on your mental health and resilience. Taking the plunge in cold water stimulates the brain to release naturally occurring hormones such as Serotonin and Dopamine. These hormones are known to promote feelings of happiness and relaxation, as well as an increased sense of focus and clarity.
Cold Water Immersion also has a number of physical benefits that can help improve your overall resilience. It increases blood flow throughout the body, which helps to reduce inflammation and promote healing. It also helps strengthen your immune system by stimulating white blood cell production. This in turn can help you fight off illnesses more efficiently.
Finally, Cold Water Plunges can help reduce stress levels by promoting deep breathing techniques that increase oxygen intake and slow down your heart rate. This combination of physical and mental benefits can help you become more resilient in the face of life’s challenges.
8) Helps You Better Manage Stress
Managing stress in your daily life is a skill that every adult should have in their tool belt. There are many ways to work this muscle in your mind and cold plunging is one of them. Cold water exposure through plunging shocks your system putting you in fight or flight mode almost instantly. The best way to manage the stress of this situation is through deep breathing and working your way to colder temperatures over time.
The great thing about the Cold Plunge Tub is that the temperature of the water can be regulated fairly easily through the filtration system that is in place. Dunking your entire body into freezing temperatures may not be something you are totally comfortable with right from the beginning. We suggest starting out at a higher temperature and working your way down to the freezing temperatures around 32 to 39 degrees Fahrenheit.
9) Increases Energy Levels
According to several research studies, cold water exposure and ice baths can increase energy levels in the human body. Through a process called cold thermogenesis, cold water stimulates the nerve endings in the skin. This results in an increase in oxygen levels and a boost in one’s heart rate and respiration rate. All of these added benefits have been linked back to an increase in energy levels and alertness in the human body.
10) Helps Burn Fat
Taking a dip in cold water may just be the thing you are looking for to reduce the amount of unhealthy body fat that you may have. New studies have shown that ice bathes, cold plunging, or cold water immersion may help burn body fat.
11) Reduces stress
Cold Water Plunges have been shown to have a variety of health benefits, including reducing stress and anxiety. The cold temperatures in the water trigger the body’s natural fight-or-flight response, which can help to reset the body’s stress response system. This allows the body to become more resilient against future stressors. Additionally, this method of stress relief can also improve mood and provide a sense of calmness.
Training regularly has already helped us a ton when it comes to regulating our stress levels and we have a place to further our practice in cold therapy.
12) Increased Thermogenesis: Control Your Own Heat
Thermogenesis refers to the process of heat generation in the body due to an increase in the metabolic process in our bodies. When you plunge into cold water, you are fighting for homeostasis- the body wants to stay at 98.6 degrees and fights to maintain its core temperature. In order to do this, the body has to put its metabolic rate into overdrive and starts to produce heat. This boost in heat is known as thermogenesis and is what ramps up calorie burning and weight loss while cold plunging.
13) Boosts the immune system
Cold Water Plunges can help boost your immune system by increasing blood circulation and improving lymphatic drainage. Cold Water Immersion helps reduce inflammation, which can be a common cause of many illnesses. It also reduces stress levels and increases the production of endorphins, hormones that help regulate the body’s response to stress. Cold water plunges also stimulate the production of white blood cells, which help your body fight off infection and disease.
14) Better muscle performance
Cold water immersion is a popular strategy to recover from intense exercise and many studies have been put in place to see the effects that it has on the human body. Cold Water immersion has been commonly linked to helping with muscle soreness, alleviating joint pain, and leaving you with less pain overall, but does it actually improve your performance?
When we put our bodies through grueling training sessions, it is common that the next couple of days are extremely sore, making it very uncomfortable to get back onto the mats or on a bench. With a cold water immersion routine in place we can now recover faster and get more out of our bodies so in this instance it has allowed us to improve the performance our muscles.
15) Boosts physical performance in sports
Cold Plunging promotes muscle recovery, improves the quality of your sleep, and helps eliminate soreness after tough workouts. All of these added benefits of cold plunging will clearly lead to a better performance in the respective sport that you take on. Whether you train as an amateur or are a high-level athlete, a proper recovery routine will lead to better performance in the sport of choice.
16) Improved Mental Well being: Cold immersion improves the psyche
Cold water immersion has a number of health benefits but none outweigh the mental benefits of being able to endure cold exposure. Cold exposure through the process of plunging is not easy and can be extremely uncomfortable at first.
The mental fortitude that you have to build up in order to make it through a session speaks for itself. It is not common to make it past a couple of minutes inside of the freezing cold water in a cold plunge tub. We are huge advocates of pushing ourselves past our limits and finding ways to build up that mental toughness and cold plunging is a suitable way to do just that.
17) Increases alertness
Due to the sudden shock that you experience from the extreme cold, it throws your body into an immediate fight or flight response causing to be more alert throughout the day. While cold immersion is happening, blood initially is pumped to the vital organs of the body. Once we step out of the tub and the body begins to self-regulate, blood begins to recirculate throughout the body. This process leads to enhanced blood flows throughout the day, oxygenating the cells, organs, and muscles which leaves us with an increased level of energy.
How Long Should You Stay in a Cold Plunge?
Typically, cold plunging is a process that can be done in a couple of minutes. Our typical sessions last anywhere between 2-5 minutes but if you are a beginner you may want to start at higher temperatures and shoot for 2 minutes submerged.
Tips to Make Your First Cold Plunge or Ice Bath a Success
Work your way to getting your whole body submerged by starting at a higher temperature
Focus on your Breathe
Start your temperature somewhere between 50 – 60 degrees and drop a degree each week to work your way to those cold temperatures
To get over the sudden shock it could help to dunk your whole body right away
These tips will make your first experience with cold plunging a bit more manageable.
Who can practice cold therapy?
Anyone can practice cold therapy on a regular basis but it should be used with caution if you have underlining health issues. Be sure to check with a medical professional if you are worried about how your body will react to exposure to cold water.
My experience with cold exposure
The first time I did a cold plunge was a couple of years ago. We tried it out for fun because we had seen one of our friends talk about it on Instagram. We made sure to come a bit sore after a workout so we could see if the benefits were what they lived up to be and we were shocked by the initial experience. Fast forward a couple of years and we still find ourselves plunging on a regular basis.
Cold plunging has helped us mainly with the recovery from our workout routine. We do our best to train BJJ multiple times a week and sometimes multiple times a day while still regularly lifting weights. This strict workout regimen calls for a strong recovery process or else we would be constantly having to sit days out to recover.
We have not bought out own tub yet but do plan on doing so in the future. For those that are looking to upgrade their at-home gym and see themselves using the cold plunge device often, we believe it is a worthwhile investment.
How long should cold immersions last?
Cold water immersion should last only a couple of minutes. Typically when we cold plunge our session lasts anywhere between 2 – 5 minutes. As you get more experienced with cold temperatures you may want to push yourself mentally and shoot for longer times at colder temperatures. There is nothing wrong with this and the added time under the water will not impact your physical well-being.
Are you ready to take the plunge? The Cold Plunge is a new way to imagine a process that has been around for decades now in the form of ice baths. Getting a cold plunge tub and stepping up your recovery process through cold water exposure will help you with your performance in your respective sport. Cold Plunge tubs are an investment and the typical starting price for one of these bad boys is around $5,000.
If you plan on making a purchase of any cold plunging device be sure to check out our reviews comparing different models in this article.