Cold plunging seems like a relatively simple concept: Get in cold water.
It can definitely be that simple, but if you want to have the best experience possible and get more of the incredible benefits of cold plunging, our co-founder Ryan Duey put together a list of 5 tips while cold plunging.
Cold Plunging Tip #1: Breathe Intentionally
With the initial shock of the cold on the system, your breathing is your greatest anchor. A good goal is to work toward 5-8 breaths per minute to help your body and mind relax by activating the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest).
- Before entering your ice bath, take a few intentional breaths (in through the nose), and then enter on an exhale.
- Focus on your breathing (in through the nose!), and quiet your mind.
- Simply count your breaths, and connect with your body as it regulates your temperature.
Cold Plunging Tip #2: Submerge to the Neck
A common beginner mistake with cold plunging is not going in far enough to submerge the neck. You want to be in enough so that the upper part of your neck is fully in the water, which will more fully activate the vagus nerve to enable a more full hormonal response, maximizing benefits like anti-inflammatory response and mood boosting.
Cold Plunging Tip #3: Start "Easy"
Unless you’ve been practicing cold exposure for a long time already, don’t start at 39 degrees. The worst thing you can do with a new practice is push your body too far, too fast. It’s like going the gym for the first time and working out for 3 hours—it’s going to do more damage than good.
Start somewhere between 50-60 degrees, and drop it a degree every week or so that you’re able to complete at least 2 minutes of a cold plunge. Even at 60 degrees, you’ll still get the anti-inflammatory benefits, so don’t worry.
Cold Plunging Tip #4: Cycle Hands and Feet Out If Needed
Hands and feet have more nerve endings than anywhere else on the body. Each foot alone has over 200,000 nerve endings, so it’s normal to have a little more trouble keeping the hands and feet submerged. Feel free to cycle your hands and feet out of the water as needed if you can’t hold them in the whole time.
Cold Plunging Tip #5: Dunk Your Head Right Away
Right when you enter the tub, dunk your head all the way under the water. This sends a powerful signal to your system and will help speed up warming regulation in the body, which makes the cold more bearable, more quickly.
Bonus Cold Plunging Tip: Plunge With Friends!
Studies have shown that humans are more resilient when doing hard things in front of other humans. If you don’t have anyone to plunge with, it also helps to know you’re a part of a larger community.
Our Instagram showcases our community of plungers, and we’d love to see your pictures and videos too (just tag us!).