How Cold Plunges Affect Your Body
Updated On November 8, 2023 | by Alena Maxwell
Diving into the world of cold plunges isn’t just a refreshing dip—it’s a transformative experience for your body. In this exploration, we delve into the invigorating effects of it on your physiology, uncovering the surprising ways submerging yourself in icy waters can impact your health and well-being.
The Immediate Benefits of Cold Plunges For the Body and Mind
Decent exposure is all the rage right now, and it is not hard to tell why it will only get bigger. As people become more and more health conscious, their desire to take care of their bodies is only going to be more prominent.
We believe that it is bound to grow over time because of its immediate perks that people see for both their bodies and minds.
Let’s examine some of the advantages that have been linked to it.
Improved Circulation and Cardiovascular Health
On a cellular level, it has a profound impact on the anatomy. People around the world have been using this therapy for centuries. The temperature of the water you use has a profound impact on your overall health.
Exposure to icy water causes the blood vessels on the surface of the skin to constrict. This diverts blood flow away from the surface of the skin.
As blood travels away from the skin, blood vessels in deeper organic structure tissues dilate. This improves blood flow circulation to the deeper tissues.
Enhanced Recovery and Reduced Inflammation
Reducing inflammation and enhanced levels of muscle recovery have both been linked to the practice of it.
The icy water can effectively reduce inflammation in the muscles and joints too. Therefore, this can help athletes recover more quickly from workouts and injuries.
The constriction of your blood vessels, when you are exposed to icy water, leads to lower levels of inflammation and allows for nutrients and oxygen to be better circulated throughout the anatomy.
When you have better blood flow throughout the body you can recover more quickly. There are tons of benefits to the act of it.
How Cold Plunges Transform at the Molecular Level
Descent exposure has been linked to activating brown fat cells in the anatomy which leads to higher levels of thermogenesis (heat generation).
At a cellular level, you are activating a process that actively leads to weight loss and the burning of fat so by getting more exposure you will burn more calories.
Activation of Brown Fat
When it comes down to brown fat and decent exposure, scientists have discovered a strong connection between its activation and the body’s revelation of coldness.
Activating brown fat is linked to our cells working harder and bringing more energy which leads to enhanced fat loss along the way.
This process of brown fat activation does not happen overnight though, this is a process that only can be achieved when you are consistent with the practice for a minimum of 10 days.
Building the habit is of the utmost importance if you are looking to get the most out of it today!
Mental Fortitude: The Mental Benefits of Cold Plunging
Doing things that are hard and not easy, like exercise or martial arts, builds discipline because it is not every day that we “feel” like doing the task that we know we should be doing.
This is no different from icy plunging. It is one of those things that pushes you mentally each time you decide to build the habit.
Many mental benefits are associated with its practice. Here are a few.
Improved Mental Resilience
There are many things in this world that are easier than submerging your body in near-freezing waters.
When you choose to do something that is both uncomfortable and challenging (like cold drops) and you complete your task you are actively working muscles in your brain that help you endure through challenges.
This is beneficial because it can carry over to many things in your life, not just to health and fitness.
Enhanced Mood With Cold Plunges
When you train in combat sports or go through a grueling workout you learn that doing hard things is very rewarding for the brain. They are no different. Your brain (and organic structure) will be uncomfortable with the temperature to start with and this will fire off neurotransmitters in your brain.
This neurological phenomenon releases endorphins and dopamine so when you complete your time in the icy water you feel a sense of accomplishment and a huge boost in your mood throughout the day.
Studies show that after performing it first thing in the morning, your dopamine levels continue to rise throughout the day due to this neurological reaction that our bodies have to the cold exposure.
Tips for Safe and Effective Cold Plunging
It is a new and exciting practice to be partaking in. Here are some quick tips to make sure you leave the experience rejuvenated:
- Don’t get into water that is too icy to start with, work your way down to ice-cold temps
- Listen to music in the background to help
- Focus on your breathing and not how icy the water is
- Set a timer for how long you want to stay submerged and shoot for longer times over some time
Submerging yourself into low-temperature water is hard enough. Don’t go in guns blazing with the practice and dive right into temp that is legitimately freezing, it is not the way to build a lasting habit that you will stick with.
Typically, those who start the practice are comfortable starting at a temperature around 55°F, sometimes slightly lower.
Ideally, you want to be somewhere where you are uncomfortable but not in pain or going into shock, you need to find that balance for yourself in the beginning.
Building a Consistent Habit
Just like anything, building a consistent habit of it is going to lead to you seeing the most perks. They say if you are going to start just don’t stop and that holds weight here with the habit of cold plunging.
None of the gains listed above will be able to sustain themselves when you are sporadic with the amount of time you spend with the practice. The best way to stay consistent is to do one of these three things:
The mentioned graph demonstrates the global cold plunge tub market size was valued at USD 307.7 million in 2022. More often, from 2023 to 2030, it is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.2%.
- Get a membership at a local business
- Use a friend’s tub
In conclusion, the world of cold plunges emerges as more than just a trending health practice—it’s a gateway to a holistic transformation.
From the immediate perks like improved circulation and reduced inflammation to the molecular-level activation of brown fat cells and the ensuing journey toward enhanced mental resilience, the rewards are manifold.
The practice not only challenges the organic structure but forges mental fortitude, building discipline that extends beyond the icy waters.
As you embark on this invigorating journey, remember that consistency is key. If you choose to invest in a personal tub, join a local business offering this experience, or share a friend’s plunge, building a routine amplifies the number of benefits.
So, take the plunge! Let the ripple effect of cold exposure leave you refreshed, resilient, and ready to conquer the challenges that lie ahead.