Using extreme temperatures to boost the recovery system of the body has been getting a lot of attention recently. Cold plunge, in particular, has gained a lot of attention due to the mental and physical perks it offers which can be achieved via taking a dip in the middle of a freezing lake or immersing your body in icy waters.
Cold plunging is commonly practiced by athletes but this trend has been picked up by various celebrities that also want to avail the benefits that come with immersing your body in freezing cold H2O. A cold plunge involves immersing your body in water that is usually below 50°F. While cold plunge has been on an upwards trend in recent years, it is believed to be an ancient practice.
6 Benefits of Cold Plunges
1-Less Muscle Soreness
Cold plunging is practiced by many athletes who compete in various sports and it is believed that the practice helps to alleviate muscle soreness. The scientific explanation of this delves into how the cold water reduces pain as it causes the blood vessels to constrict and this reduces blood flow to the pumped muscles. This is similar to how icing an injury helps to reduce swelling and inflammation.
2-Faster Cooldown If Your Body Is Overheated
The conclusion to the research conducted to see if cold plunges help to reduce the body temperature faster had a very straightforward answer: yes, cold water immersion can lower the temperature of the body much faster than just moving into a colder environment or a room with lower ambient temperature. Immersing the body in water that is roughly 50°F or 10°C can cool a person’s body in half the time that it takes someone to recover if they are not using hydrotherapy. To maximize the cooling effect, it is important to immerse as much of your skin as possible and maximize skin contact with cool water.
3-Reduction in Symptoms Of Depression
It is crucial to mention that mental health is real and needs to be addressed seriously. Cold plunging is in no way a cure for mental health conditions but some studies suggest that cold open water swimming can help to reduce the symptoms can reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety in some cases. This can sometimes be achieved with something as little as taking two cold showers every day. However, none of the participants in the studies had been diagnosed with depression.
4-Improved Immune System
Cold plunging can actually stimulate the immune system of the body which helps your body to better fight against illnesses and diseases. Daily exposure to cold water over an extended period of time can help the body to strengthen its immune system. The exposure to cold water allows the body to slowly build up a resistant to stress while also producing more anti-inflammatory chemicals and fewer pro-inflammatory cytokines in response to an infection.
5-Better Circulation and Heart Health
In order for the body to function properly it needs good circulation. Poor circulation compromises the blood flow in the body and also causes stress to the heart. This can result in fatigue, headaches, high blood pressure, muscle cramping, and even heart attack and stroke. Cold water immersion can stimulate blood flow as when the body is dunked into cold water, the blood rushes to surround your vital organs. This causes the heartrate to go up, making the heart pump more efficiently as it tries to pump blood through the constricted blood vessels, supplying the parts of your body with the oxygen it needs. Doing cold plunging on a regular basis promotes healthy blood circulation which is good for the body, heart and mind.
6-Strengthen Hair, Skin, and Nails
Cold plunging can be beneficial for people who suffer from dry skin and hair. Exposure to cold water reduces the size of the pores on your skin, tightening the skin itself. With the pores reducing in size, it is less likely that you will have greasy hair or breakouts. Cold water also stimulates hair follicles which induces hair growth, increasing the thickness and length of the hair.
Cold plunges can be practiced in a variety of different ways. You can take a swim in icy surf, a post-workout ice bath, or a brisk shower and it will be beneficial for your health in numerous ways or search for a cold plunge near me. Consult with your doctor before practicing cold plunges to make sure it is safe for you.