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Looking to jump into cold plunging? We have you covered in this beginner’s guide on how to cold plunge! Here you will find tips, expectations, and information on adding the practice to your everyday routine!
Ready to take the plunge?! Let’s dive in!
What to Expect
Plunging into the cold is an amazing way to release endorphins and show yourself what you are capable of. It is both a practice that helps you recover and strengthens your mind along the way. The practice of everyday cold water immersion or cold water exposure becoming increasingly popular as people are waking up to both the physical and mental benefits of just getting their bodies cold.
When you first experience the shock of the cold water in a plunge, it is normal for your mind to race a little bit, you will be feeling water temperatures that are not something you are entirely used to *yet. It is common for cold plunging to be both a physical and mental challenge, this practice is not supposed to be easy so be prepared to grow!
Cold Plunging can be an uncomfortable feeling in the beginning but it is not something that you should fear because it is not painful. If you are sick or pregnant, you should probably skip out on cold plunging for now and come back to it when you feel 100%. If you suffer from underlying health conditions it is advised to seek out your doctor before taking a plunge to understand the entirety of the risks!
How Long Should You Cold Plunge?
A good target time for a cold plunge with little to no experience doing so is about 1 minute to 2 minutes, if you are starting to get a little more experience under your belt with the practice it is safe to shoot for 3 -5 minutes submerged under the cold water. You have the freedom to stay under the water for longer if you really want to push yourself but it is advised to not stay under longer than 30 minutes, at about this time is when the risk of hypothermia can kick in.
Regardless of how much time you decide to spend in the cold water from a cold plunge, you will get out feeling refreshed, happy that you accomplished a challenging task to start off your day, and ready to tackle any problems that arise throughout your day. It is very common to get out of the water and notice that your skin is red, this is 100% normal. It is a natural body reaction and just telling you that your body is trying to keep itself warm (or warming itself back up).
How to Cold Plunge in 6 Easy Steps
Start Cool, then go colder
Cold Showers are a great way to start the practice without a large investment
Submerge Yourself Neck Deep (get those shoulders in there!!!)
Dunk Head all the way in for a complete submerge
Don’t stay in too long
Focus on your Breathe
1) Cold plunging has this misconception that you have to dunk yourself in frigid temperatures just to shock the nervous system but the truth of the matter is that you should be working your way to much colder temperatures over time. There is no need to jump into the deep end right away especially if you cannot fully handle it.
2) One thing that we understand about cold plunging is that buying a good cold plunge tub is expensive and a pretty big investment for most people. If you are in the large camp that cannot quite afford to spend $1,200 on a tub we get it… cold showers could be a good introduction to the practice. Now, you may not be reaping all the benefits associated with cold plunging but at least you are getting yourself out of your comfort zone!
3) When submerging in a cold plunge go neck deep!! try to get all body parts under the cold water.
4) When you get into the tub, shoot for dunking your entire body under the water for a quick second so the shocking feeling isn’t as intense. This is like just ripping the bandaid off to the experience of cold exposure.
5) In the beginning 1 -2 minutes is a good enough time to spend doing cold water therapy. you do not need to sit in the frigid water forever.
6) Deep breathing helps relax the body as fast as possible when taking a cold plunge. Focus on your breathing and the practice will be much easier to handle!
Tell Me the Science!!!
There have been many studies done on the legitimacy of what cold plunging has in regard to its health benefits to the body. What we have found is that cold water immersion does demonstrate significant effects on various physiological and biochemical parameters (source). There have been clear conclusions that cold water immersion seems to reduce inflammation, as well as have a protective effect on cardiovascular diseases and obesity.
A study was done on cold water swimming that highlights both the benefits and risks that are associated but it should be noted that swimming in water temperatures like that is much different than a controlled environment like a cold plunge tub. You can read more about the study here (source).
Cold Plunge Best Practices, Tips, & Tricks
Are you going in for your first experience of cold plunging? If so, we have a few tips and tricks that can help make your experience a little easier:
It is All In The Breath
The most powerful thing about cold plunging is that it is a practice that almost works three things in one. You are combining conscious breathing, meditation, and building a positive mental attitude when you decide to jump into that cold water.
The importance of deep, long, and complete exhales should not be overlooked. This will help you slow down your heart rate.
Do Your Plunge Early
It is best to practice cold plunging first thing in the morning since the practice itself releases energy-boosting neurotransmitters and adrenaline. If you do this too late in the day it may interrupt your sleep!
Music and Timers
Put on some music or a timer. Try to sit in the tub for one minute and work your way to a longer time!
Our favorite way to get cold exposure? The Plunge
If you have already experienced cold plunging for yourself and want to take the practice to the next level, The Plunge is rated the Best Overall Cold Plunge by Grapplers Graveyard!
Right, there are so many options to choose from (best cold plunges in 2023) that it can be overwhelming to choose but here is why we personally love the cold plunge:
The first cold plunge tub we plunged in was experienced inside a Plunge Tub
Has a powerful cooling system that does not take up too much power to use
Can be used inside or outside
Has a sleek minimalist design