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Cold plunging and cold water immersion are not new practices that someone recently came up with. These immersion techniques have been around for centuries at this point, it is only recently that we got some cool-looking tubs in our garage that we can actively practice it at our own time. In this article, we will break down some Cold Plunge benefits and how they can help you achieve a healthier lifestyle!
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Benefits of Cold Plunging
- Improves Mood
- Enhance Recovery from Exercise
- Boost Physical Performance
- Improves Blood Circulation
- Reduces Inflammation
- Improves Sleep
- Boosts Mental Fortitude
- Helps you Manage Stress Better
- Boosted Energy Levels & Alertness
COLD PLUNGE BENEFITS: 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.
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.
Enhance Recovery From Exercise
Ice baths have been a common practice for athletic programs around the world, it is not a surprise that the practice would eventually make its way to the masses. Ice baths, just like cold plunging, can be used as a way to recover faster from physical exercise or activities that you find yourself indulged in.
Joint pain, muscle soreness, and nagging injuries are all common in our sport of choice (jiu-jitsu) but I am 100% sure that the sport you do as a full-fledged adult has common traits. Whether you run on a court, play tennis, or possibly even golf, cold plunging can and will help with any kind of muscle soreness or fatigue that you may experience.
Boosts Physical Performance in Sports
Okay now I am not saying that once you jump into a tub you magically are able to dunk and run around a football field like a professional, that would be some magic solution that I could sell for way more than I would need and chances are I probably would not be writing this.
As we stated in the previous paragraph, cold plunging helps you recover more quickly. when you recover faster, you can get more time at the thing you are looking to get better at, whether that is tennis, BJJ, or football. When you are no longer running around in pain due to the tax on the body, you in part are able to perform that task at hand at a higher level.
Cold Plunging in freezing temperatures has been shown to have a positive impact on a number of things in your body. When you feel more energized, and more alert, cells in your body are more oxygenized, and you are not suffering from any kind of pain, it is no wonder that you will see a spike in your performance. It is not a secret that good recovery programs and routines boost athletic performance at this point.
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.
Cold Plunging can reduce inflammation by reducing the temperature of the body. When the body is cold, blood vessels constrict, which reduces inflammation and swelling. Additionally, when the skin is exposed to cold temperatures, it releases endorphins that act as natural painkillers and reduce inflammation.
Inflammation occurs when your body has a response to some type of irritant. Irritants can occur in the body without us even knowing it at times. A large part of this has to do with diet and what we put in our bodies, to begin with. The unfortunate truth in today’s world is that we have to watch what goes into our bodies. It is no longer news that some new company is pumping foods with preservatives or GMOs that are harmful to us and cause things like inflammation.
Finally, cold water will reduce lactic acid buildup in muscles, which helps to decrease soreness from intense physical activity.
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.
Mental Health Benefits of Cold Water Immersion
Whether you know it or not, Cold Plunging is not an easy task. It may not be desirable to get into a tub of freezing cold water just to feel less pain relief but what if I told you there was more to it than just physical benefits?
When you do hard things that most people will go out of their way to avoid, you are consciously telling the world that you are capable of this type of work. In return for doing those types of activities, you’ll have a mental edge over those that will chase comfort instead.
Cold Plunging has been an experience that brought us closer to understanding how to control our mind in times of stress. When all you want to do is focus on how cold you are and how badly you want to get out of the tub it is hard to actually focus on the task at hand. It is a superpower to pull your awareness away from the discomfort in front of you and put in on something like your breathe instead.
Helps You Better Manage Stress and Helps Reduce it
Shocking your body with a sudden dose of cold water is normally unpleasant at first. It will put your body in a state of fight-or-flight and get everything firing like it is supposed to. In this sudden state of shock, the body is registering the experience as stress.
I read a really good piece the other day (could not find the link to it I know I am sorry) about there being two types of stress. Normal stress that we are all aware of (you know the one that is bad) is the type of stress like a boss hounding you and always over your shoulder and the second type of stress (that I was unfamiliar with) was eustress. Eustress is more described as a voluntary stress that we put ourselves through to come out the other side a better person.
Cold Plunging, sauna sessions, and BJJ are three examples of Eustress that we regularly put ourselves through. Eustress is the stress that you must start chasing to make yourself better equipped to handle the unwanted stress that may arise in life. Cold Plunging daily is a practice that promotes this line of thinking.
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.
After taking a plunge, your body will feel completely different. It feels more awake. Now there is some deep science to this, which i will not bog you down in this particular post since we already did it on another one, the moral is that cold plunging will leave you more alert throughout your day to tackle all issues or conflicts that may arise.
My Experience With Cold Plunging
We started cold plunging a couple of years ago as a friend of ours started getting very vocal about the practice. At first, it was extremely uncomfortable and the experience was a bit overwhelming. We were not used to putting ourselves into voluntarily stressful circumstances and it showed in those early days.
As we started to do the practice more regularly, the ability to just focus on our breath became second nature. We do not have our own tub, yet, we spend our time at local studios that do though, more often than we probably should!
At this point, we are big advocates of the practice and think that it has been a huge advantage to our athletic performance on the mats.
Who can practice cold plunging?
If you are concerned that cold plunging may not be something you can do, it is probably best to ask a medical professional for their advice. The great thing about the Cold Plunge Tub in particular is that the temperature of the water is completely controllable, so you do not have to start at 35-degree wouldn’t water on your first try, we wouldn’t even recommend that in the first place.
The benefits of cold water immersion start to occur in the body when the temperature of the water is below 60 degrees, so if you have to, start at 59 or 58 and work your way down to the cold temperatures. Baby steps always.
Tips to Make Your First Cold Plunge a Success
Go in knowing it is going to be very cold. The benefits of cold water therapy far outweigh the discomfort you will experience. Keep this in mind and go into the experience ready to push yourself.
Bring a warm set of clothes and towels. Most places you go to that have Cold Plunge Tubs will also have towels but it does not hurt to bring your own. Your body will feel different after you dunk yourself in freezing temperatures so when it is all over getting into a nice set of clothes that will warm you up is needed.
When submerged in the water the best way to push past the discomfort is to focus on your breathing. This is much easier said than done. Deep breathing and focus will help calm your body down to the sudden immersion in the tub.
Work your way to getting your whole body in the tub. Most of the time, when starting out it is okay if you can only get the upper body submerged. Work your way to getting comfortable with a full-body submersion over time.
Ice Bath vs Cold Shower vs Cold Plunge – what’s the difference?
- Have to purchase ice every time you want to plunge
- Out-dated design
- No temperature control
- Can do it in the comfort of your home
- Temperature control
- No studied benefits on muscle or joint recover
- Easy to build a routine
- Complete temperature control (if you choose the right tub)
- Can do it in the comfort of your home
- Sleek Designs
- Easy to build a routine
- Studied and proven health benefits
SAFETY TIPS FOR COLD IMMERSION
Be sure to consult with medical professionals if you have any pre-disposed issues that have you questioning if plunging is for you. Otherwise, if you are a healthy able-bodied individual, plunging is a safe process.
Be sure to watch your step coming in and out of the cold tub, it can get slippery!
HOW LONG SHOULD COLD IMMERSIONS LAST?
Cold water immersion is a process that should last no longer than a couple of minutes to get the added benefits you’re probably looking for. If you are plunging using a tub usually the time limit you want to stay submerged is somewhere around 2 – 5 minutes. If you decide to experiment with Cold showers you should aim for around the same time.
When we practiced cold showering we would do it for about 1 minute to get that sudden shock from the temperature of the water and once we felt more alert, we went right back to turning it to warm.
Take the plunge and try this out for yourself.