There’s something about submerging myself in cold water that has been equally horrifying and intriguing. Maybe you feel the same way? Whether a wellness ritual or a daring feat, cold plunging is becoming a hot topic. I want to share with you what I have learned from cold plunging these last 2 months and why you might want to consider incorporating it into your own health routine.
When we think of self-improvement, we often envision intricate tasks or grand changes. But sometimes, the most transformative experiences can be deceivingly simple. For me, cold plunging has proven to be more of a mental challenge than a physical one. It’s a throwback to childhood when tasks like learning to ride a bike seemed monumental yet were very attainable and incredibly rewarding.
Imagine standing before a tub filled with cold water (to find out ‘how cold’ keep reading). The first step is to take a deep breath, brace yourself, and get in, submerging up to your neck. I find that the faster I do this, the better. My mind screams, “Are you crazy?” but a deeper part of me echoes, “You can do hard things.”
After 45 seconds, I find myself slipping into a blissful, almost meditative state without even trying. The euphoria that washes over my body and mind in the icy stillness is exhilarating. This 3-5x/week, five-minute ritual has become my metaphorical dragon to slay, reinforcing that I am capable of overcoming hard challenges in my life.
Beyond mental fortitude, cold plunging offers substantial physical benefits:
- Stronger Immune System: Regular cold plunging increases white blood cell count, supporting a healthier immune system.
- Reduced Inflammation: Cold water can act as a natural anti-inflammatory, aiding in muscle recovery.
- Stress Reduction: The practice is known to reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
- Improved Circulation: The cold water helps blood vessels to contract, improving cardiovascular circulation and overall heart health.
- Enhanced Metabolism: Some studies suggest that cold water immersion can stimulate brown fat production, increasing calorie burn and aiding in weight management.
- Boosts Mood: Cold exposure releases endorphins, the ‘feel-good’ hormones.
Research shows that to reap these benefits, you need to spend at least 15 minutes in cold water per week, which can be broken down into shorter sessions (>3 minutes). Interestingly, the water doesn’t need to be ice-cold—55 degrees Fahrenheit suffices.
These aren’t herculean feats that require you to spend hours in a frozen lake. I started with an affordable (<$100) inflatable tub from Amazon. And adding a bit of spa chlorine and changing the water monthly keeps it fresh.
As I have woven this practice into my daily life, a surprising craving has emerged. What began as a daunting task now strengthens my mental resilience, wakes me up, and leaves me feeling like a warrior champion!
If you’re pondering ways to shake up your wellness routine OR you just want to feel like a warrior champion yourself 🙌🏼, consider taking the plunge. I believe in you.