Plunging into a tub of frosty water is certainly a challenge in the colder months. Having said that, there are numerous benefits in doing so. Here’s some of the most compelling reasons, along with tips to make this daunting feat a little bit easier.
Why You Should Take Ice Baths in Winter
The low humidity that typically accompanies cold weather leaves your skin prone to drying, cracking, or flaking. It can even exacerbate conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.
Ice baths help turn the tide on these unwanted effects by promoting blood flow. While it’s true that cold plunges initially constrict vessels, the opposite occurs when you emerge. This stimulates circulation and supplies the skin with vital oxygen and nutrients.
According to Epionce Skin Care Founder Dr. Carl Thornfeldt, cold water therapy also strengthens contractile fibres to improve firmness and minimise the appearance of pores.
It isn’t the most obvious pairing, but a growing pool of research suggests that regular cold exposure is one of the best ways to optimise your immunity and stave off sickness.
One study saw a significant increase in red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets among athletes after swimming in icy water, while another found that “…daily brief cold-water stress over many months could enhance antitumor immunity and improve nonlymphoid cancer survival rate”.
Poor mental health is an all too common consequence of a change in season. While there are a number of potential triggers and treatments, ice baths are a safe and effective way to keep the blues at bay.
Those who regularly partake in cold immersion report feeling elevated energy, focus, and happiness. In explaining the uplifting properties of ice baths, researchers at the Virginia Commonwealth School of Medicine pointed to their ability to “…send an overwhelming amount of electrical impulses from peripheral nerve endings to the brain, which could result in an anti-depressive effect”.
Increase Cold Tolerance
What better way to prepare your body for the cold than by facing it head on?
Every icy plunge you take helps you adapt to the physical and mental stress that comes with “real-world” cold environments. With enough exposure you’ll go from “Baby It’s Cold Outside” to “Let It Snow” when winter rolls around.
How to Make Ice Baths Easier in Winter
Ideally you’ll have acclimated to cold immersion when the weather’s warm, but here are some simple tips to help you ease into it when the mercury starts to fall:
While immersing yourself to the neck usually provides the most benefit, you don’t have to hop right in on your first attempt.
Try starting with just your legs, before gradually moving up to your waist, then shoulders, then full body. The results will be well worth the time this methodical process takes.
Take It Slow
Many like to bathe for between 3 and 15 minutes, but there’s no shame in beginning with minute-long stints. You can always increase the duration as your body and mentality adjusts.
The same goes for the temperature. For newcomers we recommend a relatively warm 15 degrees celsius (59 fahrenheit). Though this may seem high, it’s an achievable base from which you can lower the temperature of future plunges. A good target to aim for is between 14C (57.2F) and 10C (50F) – where the majority of benefits are experienced.
Recruit a Friend
When all else fails, call in the calvary!
Sharing the cold immersion experience with a friend or family member can make it a lot more approachable. As well as providing support and encouragement, it helps you stay consistent while fostering a sense of fun and comradery. A little friendly rivalry might just be the key to reaching your cold plunge potential.
iCoolsport offers inflatable baths that are perfect for recruiting a partner (or five) into your ice bath routine. Explore the range online.
Where Can I Get a Quality Ice Bath?
If you want to take advantage of the cold-weather benefits of cold plunges, iCoolsport is your one-stop shop. After all, we invented modern ice baths and are the largest global supplier.
Whether you’re a veteran or newcomer, our quality range of products has you covered. With baths of all sizes and chillers capable of maintaining a constant water temperature of as little as five degrees celsius (41F), we make your cold plunge journey as effortless as possible.