Health Benefits of Cold Water Plunging

cold plunging

Cold water plunging is not for the faint of heart, but studies have indicated that it can provide the body with plenty of benefits after exercise. The cold water can help with inflammation and pain you’re feeling post-exercise.

So, if you’re considering trying a cold water plunge for charity or your own health benefits, there might be a viable reason for you to jump in that cold water plunge pool sooner rather than later. Keep reading to find out all the possible health benefits you might be able to benefit from cold water plunging.

Improved Mood

Studies have indicated that a cold plunge of less than 60 degrees Fahrenheit can increase dopamine levels by up to 250%, with noradrenaline levels increasing by 530% – which lasted for hours after the initial plunge. Both of these hormones are known for feeling good and helping with happiness, motivation, memory, and alertness.

Cold plunging can improve vigour and your self-esteem while also making you feel like you can tackle anything. After getting out of the plunge pool, cold water users note that they feel ready to take on the world without as many feelings of anger, fatigue, depression, tension, and confusion.

Quicker Recovery and Physical Performance

Research has shown that cold water plunges have a positive effect on power, strength, and endurance. One study took two groups and asked them both to perform a high-intensity workout, with one ending with a cold water plunge. Both groups were then asked to perform athletic testing one, two, and three days after the initial plunge.

The results showed that the cold plunge group exhibited a significantly higher level of power after the cold plunge, which was shown through sprints and jumps. However, this was only seen 24 hours after the cold plunge, indicating that regular cold plunges are needed to see these benefits on a regular basis. Still, the fact that cold plunges can improve your athletic performance so much can be very beneficial to professional athletes.

Hardened Resilience to Better Manage Stress

Cold water plunging puts the body into a state of stress, which can actually be a good thing. While it might not sound particularly enticing to introduce the body to a state of deliberate stress, it can strengthen how your body responds to the stressor. The plunge pool acts as a controlled environment so you can focus on your breathing and emotional state instead of worrying about where you are and how your body is reacting.

As your brain knows there’s nothing to truly worry about when you’re in the plunge pool, it can help hone your mental attitude when facing real stressors in life. Repeated exposure and practice can help you manage stress outside of the water.

Increased Metabolism

There have been reports of metabolism being increased up to 350% when exposed to a cold plunge. While this short-term boost might not burn an excessive number of calories, repeated cold plunges can help the production of brown fat. Brown fat helps to regulate your temperature and burn calories, distinguishing it from typical body fat. There have also been studies to show that regular cold plunging can help improve your body’s blood sugar regulation.

Stronger Immune System

Cold water plunges can trick the body into inducing a ‘practice fever’ which helps train the white blood cells to move quickly around the body to fight off whatever’s causing the spike in temperature. Even if you’re not ill and there’s nothing for the immune system to fight off, this practice run can get the white blood cells moving faster, ready to jump into action as soon as the body experiences a true illness. This can help reduce the downtime you need to recover from certain viruses and infections, springing you back to everyday life within no time.

Less Inflammation and Muscle Pain

Cold water plunges are effective for reducing inflammation and muscle soreness. Much like you’re recommended to ice post-exercise injuries to help reduce inflammation, cold water can work in a more effective manner thanks to the sheer amount of water surrounding your injury.

Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) can also be helped through cold water plunges, so you don’t have to suffer through the delayed pain a couple of days after your exercise. The cold water can reduce inflammation around your joints or injury, making it easier to move and continue daily life without being slowed down too abruptly.