While people often use ice baths to combat muscle soreness and help with recovery, there is another potential benefit - weight loss. You may be wondering, “How do ice baths help with weight loss?” or “Do ice baths really work for weight loss?” In short, yes there are studies suggesting an ice bath has a positive effect on weight loss, and we’ll break it down for you below.
First let’s start by looking at the main concept behind ice baths for weight loss - cold thermogenesis.
What is Cold Thermogenesis?
Cold thermogenesis (CT) is the process of producing adaptive, beneficial hormetic responses as a result of purposefully exposing parts of your body to cold temperatures.
So basically, when our body is exposed to cold, it triggers a number of changes in order to maintain our core temperature, and cold thermogenesis is when you exploit these changes to promote weight loss.
How Cold Thermogenesis Helps With Weight Loss
Here are some main ways in which cold thermogenesis works to promote weight loss:
Increases Energy Expenditure
When our body is exposed to cold, it has to work harder to maintain its internal temperature. This results in an increase in energy expenditure (a.k.a. energy used) as the body works to maintain its internal temperature. When this energy is used to regulate your internal temperature, it burns calories in the process. Long-term cold water exposure also helps the body adapt to burn more calories long-term.
Increases Brown Fat
You may be thinking “More fat? I thought this post was about weight loss!” Interestingly, brown fat actually helps with weight loss. Here’s how:
Brown fat is a type of adipose tissue (body fat) that is rich in mitochondria which are responsible for burning calories and generating heat. Exposing our bodies to cold temperatures has been shown to increase the amount of brown fat in our bodies. So, the more brown fat we have, the more calories we burn.
Promotes Cell Longevity
One suggested (but not fully understood) benefit of CT is cell longevity, the support of healthy aging from the cellular level.
One study found that exposing cells to cold temperatures led to an increase in lifespan by activating stress response pathways. These pathways help the cells to adapt to stressful conditions and protect them from damage.
Another study found that rats who were exposed to cold temperatures had a longer lifespan than those who were not. This was attributed to the fact that exposure to cold triggers the production of heat-shock proteins.
Reduces Blood Sugar and Boosts Metabolism
One of the most impressive benefits of CT is its ability to reduce blood sugar levels and boost metabolism. It does this by increasing the release of glucose from our liver and by increasing the sensitivity of our cells to insulin. A fast/high metabolism burns calories faster than a low metabolism.
Tips For Ice Baths For Weight Loss
Now that you understand how cold plunging can help with weight loss, you may be ready to take an ice bath at home. Be sure to keep these 3 tips in mind:
Firstly, make sure that you start slow. Don't immediately go to the coldest possible temperature - start where you're comfortable then gradually lower the temperature each time. If you want, you can even start with cold showers to get your body used to what ice baths will feel like.
Secondly, make sure that you don't stay in the ice bath for too long. Start with 1-2 minutes and then work your way up as you get used to it. Between 2 to 5 minutes is enough time.
Lastly, make sure to listen to your body. If you start to feel dizzy, lightheaded, or have any other health concerns, then get out of the ice bath immediately.
Elevate Your Ice Bath
If you are looking to invest in your health and weight loss journey, consider a revolutionary Cold Plunge tub so you can reap all the benefits of ice baths right at home. It’s less expensive than other not-as-amazing alternatives and it is user-friendly so all you’ll have to focus on is how awesome you’re going to feel when you start your ice bath routine.
Before you go, don’t forget to grab a free copy of our Cold Plunge Protocols which are specifically for fat loss and cold exposure.
Medical disclaimer: This post is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your doctor before beginning a cold plunging routine or any weight loss routine.