SFH #28: Cold Water 🧊

Cold exposure boasts an impressive list of benefits for our health

Yes, I’m one of them! One of those cuckoo cold shower, cold plunge, and cold exposure advocates.

I first tried cold water therapy for recovery post workouts and races back in the mid-aughts. I enjoyed the benefits each time but didn’t really explore frequent use until a few years ago. Anecdotally, my day, mood, and body are noticeably better when I get the cold exposure. It wouldn’t even matter if it were a placebo. It just works for me. That said, this rejuvenating process is science-backed. The cold exposure from baths, showers, natural bodies of water, cryotherapy, and good cold environmental air creates positive stress on the body, known as hormesis.1

The Benefits of Cold Water on Our Health

  1. Boost your immune response. Cold exposure increases our T-cells and our antioxidant production.2 🚀

  2. Improve your recovery process from exercise. We covered periodization a couple of days ago around how we need to phase our activity to allow for proper growth through restoration. Using cold therapy can help us address inflammation and onset muscle soreness to return to our chosen activity sooner.3 💪🏾

  3. Boost your mood, and treat depression and anxiety. It seems like a heavy lift for some cold water, but studies are now showing an increase in the hormones that help us build relationships and maintain happiness—norepinephrine in particular.4 😁

  4. Improve your memory. Coming back to the norepinephrine. This useful organic chemical of the body helps us focus, recall memories, and increases our cognition.5 🧠

  5. Burn fat and live longer. Brown fat is the ‘good fat’ that increases from cold exposure. These brown adipose cells help us regulate our energy through a process called thermogenesis. We can boost our metabolism, slow the aging process, and fight degenerative disease.6 🔥

Ready to jump in?! 😳

Start slow. 20 to 30 seconds at a time. Add 10 seconds each day. It’s that easy if you are willing. 🚿

Please consult your medical doctor for approval of cold exposure if you are on any medications or have a medical condition.

1

https://academic.oup.com/qjmed/article/92/4/193/1586500

2

https://www.najms.org/article.asp?issn=1947-2714;year=2014;volume=6;issue=5;spage=199;epage=209;aulast=Mooventhan

3

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25375114/

4

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S030698770700566X

5

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3402/ijch.v63i2.17700

6

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1550413111002610