4 Benefits of Cold Immersion

I’ve had a lot on my plate lately but have nevertheless been able to keep myself to personal deadlines, one of which you are experiencing with me as you read this.  Today, I have to write my first blog post.

I’ve shared through my facebook page an article on the benefits of starting the day with a cold shower, and some of you know I’ve been doing the Wim Hof program for the last few months and it’s all about breath control and cold water immersion.  Learning to control my body with breathing and temperature manipulation has taught me more about my own psychology and physiology than I ever expected to learn.  I’ve wanted to write about the experience at length, but just don’t have the time right now, so I’m going to leave it to the four benefits I’ve found to be most pleasant, and I’ll (hopefully) have the long form version to you soon.

  • Increased Immune Response – Wim’s students have been shown in lab settings to be able to increase immune response to endotoxin with just 4 days of training. In apartment settings, I was able to initiate a response to the first signs of winter respiratory issues.
  • Increased Athletic Performance – By increasing the secretion of anti-inflammatory cytokines, cold immersion therapy increases the response of anti-inflammatory cytokines. I’ve been having back and hip issues for the past six months and cold water immersion has helped tremendously
  • Muscle Retention – Because of the back and hip issues, I’ve pretty much relegated my workouts to ELDOA and myofascial stretching with some segmental strengthening as well, and I’ve gained muscle. Cold water immersion increases an expression of cold shock proteins that have restorative effects on the brain, heart, and muscles, decreasing atrophy. (and segmental strengthening is the most efficient way to train a specific muscle)
  • Increased Endurance – Cyclists engaging in cold water immersion therapy have been shown to retain over time the benefits of endurance training. As my back and hip are healing I’m becoming more active and seeing that I’ve retained some of the benefits of my interval training.

Those are just a few of the benefits I’ve found, so if you haven’t taken an ice bath or a cold shower lately, try it.  It’s helped me out tremendously and has allowed me to enjoy random opportunities a little bit more.  As a surfer, I’ve grown to detest cold water, but both of my recent trips to California found me playing in the surf in my underpants with a complete lack of regard for the cold (or social convention).  That much alone has made it worth it for me.  I’ll write more about it soon, and I invite you to send any questions or comments.

 

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