Similar to a cold shower after a long, hot day, or an ice bath after a strenuous workout, a cold plunge is designed to help your mind and body reset, recover, and rejuvenate! Not only can it help you hit the ground running every morning, but it can also work to improve your overall health, putting you on the path towards becoming the best person you can be.
We’ve rounded up the best reasons to try a cold plunge and why cold therapy might become your new favorite habit.
Cold Plunge Benefits
The idea of using cold as a tool for therapy is nothing new. Going back to 3500 B.C.E, humans have been using ice and cold to help treat injuries throughout the ages. As time has progressed, humans have found more and more uses for cold therapy, eventually leading us to the relatively new trend of cold plunges.
There are plenty of reasons to hop on the cold plunge bandwagon, but a few, in particular, stand out
What Sore Muscles?
Just like throwing an ice pack on a sprained wrist, cold plunges can help to reduce soreness in your muscles and sometimes decrease swelling and inflammation. Professional athletes and fitness buffs have been on this trend for a while, but don’t be intimidated, cold-water therapy is truly for everyone.
Why it Works
When you submerge in cold water, your blood vessels will naturally constrict. Doing this diminishes your blood flow, which in turn reduces inflammation in muscles. While this can be great for dealing with injuries and minor tweaks, you don’t need to be hurt to benefit.
There is evidence to suggest that cold plunges can improve circulation, thanks to the same idea of constricting your blood vessels. When you first hit the cold water, the circulation on the surface of your body (your skin) constricts. To try and maintain your body temperature, the blood in your deeper tissues will circulate at a higher rate, improving general blood flow.
Support your Immune System
Your immune system is one of the most critical aspects of your body’s health, and cold water immersion may just help to improve it. So while it’s probably not a great idea to hop in a cold tub the next time you get the sniffles, a regular routine of cold plunging can help you fight off future illnesses.
Why it Works
Studies have shown that exposure to cold water and cold temperatures can have an “immunostimulating” effect, which is a very fancy way of saying that cold therapy can help your immune response.
Exposure to cold water can trigger your lymphatic system, which eliminates waste and toxins within the body. Lymphatic vessels, which carry infection-fighting white blood cells, will constrict when in contact with cold water, forcing the lymphatic system to pump. This, in turn, triggers your immune system, boosting your white blood cell count and improving your immune response!
Voluntarily dipping your body into freezing water challenges you both physically and mentally, pushing your body past its comfort zone. Building up a routine of cold plunging can help you develop better self-control and gain more energy.
Why it Works
While hot tubs are known for their relaxation, cold tubs are notoriously difficult to get used to. Nothing can really prepare you for the first shock of taking a cold plunge, and unless you’ve actively practiced the Wim Hof Cold Therapy Method, it will probably be challenging to get your routine started.
Even if you’ve started a routine, it won’t feel much easier to get in the tub every day, but pushing through that initial discomfort can help you leap out of your comfort zone. Of course, it’ll take some work to convince yourself, but by sticking to your guns and pushing through your discomfort, you might find it more accessible and easier to master self-control.
Sticking to a cold plunge routine can also boost your energy levels, thanks to a hormone and neurotransmitter called norepinephrine. Norepinephrine in the brain helps to regulate focus, attention, and mood, and when we come into contact with cold water, there is a significant release of norepinephrine into our bodies.
This sudden increase goes on to stimulate our sympathetic nervous system, better known as our “fight-or-flight” response. Once this is triggered, we get a flood of energy as our body begins to work through the physical stress of cold temperatures.
As you can see, cold plunges aren’t just a great way to wake up. A routine of cold plunges can help you on numerous mental and physical levels, and the best part is, it can take as little as five minutes a day.
Take the Plunge
We know that it can seem daunting to take your first plunge, but if our experience is any indication, there’s no going back once you try it. We want to help more people find the mental and physical benefits of cold therapy, and we’re doing that the only way we know how.
Help us on our path towards making cold plunges the “new coffee,” and start your own plunge journey today!