In the last few years, taking freezing cold showers or swimming in icy waters has seen an uptake in popularity. According to proponents of this practice, exposing your body to extreme cold for short periods of time regularly could lead to improved immunity and circulation, relieve stress, lead to better moods while also relieving muscle soreness.
According to supermodel Miranda Kerr and British TV personality, Ferne Cotton, a freezing cold shower is the perfect way to start the day. Not only is it exhilarating, it also apparently boosts productivity.
Dr Lucy Glancey, founder of Dr Glancey Clinics says that the cold water “wakes up our skin receptors which increase overall activity in the brain. It helps to tighten pores and decrease redness and puffiness to the skin whilst boosting our circulation. It makes the skin feel fresh, awake and clean and most feel as though they have a healthy glow.”
If you want to test the benefits of cold water therapy for yourself, you can try it out in several different ways. Here are some suggestions:
- Take warm-to-cold showers. Start with warm water and, after a few minutes, gradually drop the temperature.
- Skip the warmup and go straight to a cold shower. This may be especially helpful if you’ve just finished working out.
- Immerse yourself in an ice bath: Add ice to water until the temperature is between 50°F and 59°F (10°C and 15°C), and stay submerged for only 10 to 15 minutes.
- Consider a short swim in colder waters. Be sure to follow the safety tips below.
Thirdly, remember to pace yourself. To get the health benefits of cold water therapy, a few minutes may be all you need. Although you can gradually increase your cold tolerance, there’s no therapeutic reason to stay in cold water longer than a few minutes especially if you are finding it intolerable. Your body might be trying to tell you something. Listen to it!
To get the health benefits of cold water therapy, a few minutes may be all you need. Although you can gradually increase your cold tolerance, there’s no therapeutic reason to stay in cold water longer than a few minutes.
Last but not least, be sure to warm your bodies up when you get out.
Your body temperature could keep dropping even after you get out of the water, increasing your risk of hypothermia.
The Outdoor Swimming Society recommends taking these steps to warm up safely and gradually if you try open water swimming:
- Immediately put on a hat and gloves.
- Get out of your wet clothes and dry off.
- Dress in warm, dry layers, starting with your upper body.
- Drink a warm beverage.
- Have a bite to eat — bonus points for something sweet, since sugar elevates your body temperature.
- Find a warm place to sit down or, if you feel up to it, walk around to raise your body temperature.
- Avoid taking a hot shower. The sudden change in blood flow could cause you to pass out.