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It is not uncommon to see people cold plunging all over TikTok these days and it may have you wondering what a cold plunge is! In this article, we answer the question ‘whats a cold plunge?’ and tell you why you should get into the practice if you are active or are an athlete!
Whats a Cold Plunge!
Cold plunges and ice baths are a form of cold therapy where we submerge our bodies in water temperatures ranging from (typically) 45°F – 55°F. Most cold plunge devices have the capability to go much lower in temperature but for most that is not only not necessary but not ideal. This practice may be new to you but it has been practiced by athletes for decades now.
Athletes in some of the best training facilities spend their time doing some form of cold therapy after intense exercise. In most cases, athletes have been known to be either cold plunging daily or twice a day.
Cold Plunging is completely safe for people with able bodies, no underlying health conditions, or are not pregnant. Cold therapy in general is done in a couple of ways. To get your twos wet, people typically start out with something like cold showers and then work their way into the more advanced methods with ice baths, cold plunges, or even cryotherapy.
What’s The Point?
Okay, so you may be wondering, what’s the point of cold plunging?
Many studies have shown that cold water immersion is very good for both our mental and physical well-being. There is a greater trend of people wanting to live healthy lifestyles and throwing cold therapy into your routine is just a way to do so. You may not be a professional athlete but you may really enjoy other forms of physical exercising that leaves your muscles sore or possibly leaving joints inflamed.
Cold plunging for as little as one minute can help reduce this! The physical and mental benefits of cold plunging have been shown to start happening with as little as 60 seconds of exposure when done consistently!
How to Cold Plunge Today
Cold therapy is something that you can start doing today from the comfort of your home. If you are a complete beginner to the practice, we have a great guide on How to Cold Plunge (here).
A dedicated cold plunge tub is an investment with the cheapest advised device to purchase is around $1,200 (Ice Barrel Review). We say advised because we do not believe the “affordable” options on the market are the best for those that want to take the practice even remotely seriously, you’re better off hopping in a cold shower than sitting in those tubs.
Ice Bath At Home
Ice baths are pretty easy to make at home if you are more inclined to do it all yourself. You will have to buy a good amount of ice for your bathtub and just fill it up with water. Try to shoot for a water temperature rating from 45° – 55° for optimal results, anything lower can end up being harmful to the body.
Build your Own Cold Plunge
You can always go the route of building your own cold plunge if you want to avoid paying for a pre-built one. You may be able to save a buck or two but just by doing minimal research, you will see that just the chillers themself will run you about $1,000. That’s not even including the plumbing tools you will have to buy and the dedicated tub you plan on using.
Personally, we would rather just save the time, energy, and effort and have it come preassembled. But for those people that feel inclined, we recommend checking out this site ‘DIY Cold Punge‘. They have some awesome designs and great content about building your own cold plunge device from scratch.
Why You Should Be Getting Cold Water Exposure
Cold Plunging is a great way for both athletes and health enthusiasts to actively recover. We call cold plunging a form of active recovery because it is not a practice that goes without pushing you to your limits. The cold shock response you get from initially plunging into your cold plunge tub will take some getting used to.
Benefits of Cold Water Immersion
The potential benefits we can get from cold plunging are amazing:
Relieves muscle soreness
Boosts Immune System
Improves Mental Health
Improves Blood Circulation
Manage Stress Better
Boost Energy Levels
Helps Burn Fat
Better Muscle Performance
Boost Physical Performance
How Long Should You Cold Plunge?
Cold Plunges last anywhere between one to five minutes depending on how well your body is exposed to the cold and how much you can personally tolerate. It should be noted that you should gradually increase the amount of time you spend submerged in the water as you get more comfortable with cold water therapy.
It is okay to start off and only be able to spend 30 seconds in the water, it is normal, especially for beginners. Remember, the benefits of cold plunges can only be found when you consistently expose yourself to the practice. You can do this buy either buying your own tub, building your own tub, buying ice and placing it into your bathtub, or going to a local wellness center that have a cold plunge available.
Potential Risks of Cold Plunging
We have an entire article answering the questing ‘Are cold plunges risky?‘. In there we lay out what you should look for and how to avoid the risks associated with cold plunging. Again, the practice is completely safe for those that have healthy bodies and no underlying health conditions. Many people make the mistake of plunging into water that is just too cold to start off with but not you, you read our blog!
How Often Should I Get Cold Water Exposure?
As often as you can in all honesty. This depends on both your ability to find time and your commitment to the practice. The goal for us is to get at least 5 – 10 sessions of deliberate cold exposure throughout the week.
We have an article diving into this topic as well.
How to Mix Cold Plunges Into Your Exercise Routine
What does your workout routine look like? You have to first figure this out and make the time to either go to the store to get ice or go to the local wellness center. If you have your own cold plunge device this question is easiest to answer.
In an ideal world, you want to be cold plunging first thing in the morning to start your day off on the right foot. Cold temperatures when we wake up shock our system and provide us with the initial boost that we need to tackle the opportunities that arise throughout our day. We train jiu-jitsu about 3 – 4 times per week and mix weight training into our life by at least spending 2-3 days lifting heavy weights. It can be a lot to manage while we are writing this blog and working full time to get the necessary amount of cold exposure to help us recover but like we stated earlier we fit in at least 5 times per week on a regular basis.
Personally, we have a subscription to our local wellness center that has a BlueCube Ice Bath. They are the best commercial-grade cold plunges on the planet right now (BlueCube Ice Bath Complete Review). We currently live in an apartment so the ability to have a dedicated cold plunge device here is not really an option for a number of reasons.