Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
5 Jun

How to Conduct a Personal Experiment: Cold Water Plunges

I’ve always been a self-experimenter, even when I didn’t realize it. Back when I raced competitively, I logged – compulsively – all my training routes, times, and distances. My logging didn’t begin as a grand self-experiment. It was just a way to authenticate my hard work. See, races were their own reward. Beating the other guys? Nothing sweeter. But those were few and far between. To get to those races, I had to train, day in and day out, with nothing tangible to show for it save for sore joints and a bottomless pit for a stomach. Filling those blank spaces with numbers made what I’d done somehow tangible, and the agony of training day in, day out became more bearable.

Of course, patterns emerged in those logs. I’d notice a string of particularly strong training days and think to myself, “What was different that week?” Had I eaten a particular something? Had I not eaten a particular something? If a weak sequence appeared, I’d wonder the same thing and explore my past. “Oh yeah, that was the week I had friends in town and I stayed up late every night” – maybe sleep does matter! Or, “I trained fewer days that week and my times actually improved” – could less possibly be more? And so from the practical, the numbers, the data, the objectivity, I gleaned the intuition, the insight, the lessons to be learned.

Now that I’ve internalized all those training lessons learned from my accidental self-experimentation, I don’t have to log it. I just do it. Same goes for eating. I don’t calorie or carb or protein count; I just eat. You can get there, too, and I suspect many of you have with regards to certain aspects of your diet or your training. But before you get there, before you’re dialed in, you have to experiment. You have to start with an idea, give it an honest shot, and see it through to the end. Though making your experiment air-tight enough to pass peer review isn’t necessary, try to be as systematic and scientific as you can. It will pay off and your results will have that much more meaning.

I hear people getting up to leave. I know, I know. We’re all about the ease of Primal eating, exercising, and listening to one’s body while looking at calorie-counting with suspicion and often barely veiled scorn – “just follow these basic rules and everything will fall into place like so” –  but logging data, analyzing data, and drawing conclusions from said data is really about honing your intuition. It’d be nice if we all maintained that Primal connection to our bodies, but most of us have not. Most of us have lived lives divorced from our bodies, eating weird pseudo-foods, strapped several inches of rubber to our feet, sitting in the same place for ten hours a day, staring at one electronic screen or another instead of the wide world around us, sleeping in rooms with bright blue green blinking shards of light filling our dreams, and we’re all a little confused. That’s okay. That’s to be expected. We can come back from this to reclaim our intuition, and data logs, journals, and self-experiments are how we get there.

You know how people say you go to college to learn how to learn? This is kinda like that.

What’s cool is that we can all learn something from a self-experiment. No matter what you know or think you know, you have a weak spot that can be identified and hammered out by systematically logging, journaling and testing. I know this because I have plenty of them myself. Ever since I wrote that first post on self-experimentation, I’ve been playing around with my own experiments, and I have an effective, simple methodology for testing. Also since that blog post I’ve quietly been putting the finishing touches on a new book, a 90-Day Primal Journal that will contain this methodology and deals with precisely this subject. It drops later this month.

Thus, this post marks the start of a new self-experimentation series on MDA. In the coming weeks, I’ll introduce new concepts to try, parameters to track, and experiments to run, but today, we’re going to cover cold water plunges.

Why cold plunges? A few reasons. First, cold water immersion is sort of a hot topic these days around the Primal and ancestral health community. It’s on people’s minds, so they’re already primed to consider it. If I had just come out of the blue with a random charge – “try plunging your mostly-naked body into cold water!” – you might write me off. This way, it’s not such a foreign concept.

Second, the weather’s warming up (at least for those of us living where summer is approaching). You’re more likely to try something as physically unappealing and discomforting as a cold plunge when it’s warm out. When it’s cold out? Not so much. For many people, the winter months are traditionally associated with hot mugs of coffee, hearty soups, and raging fireplaces, not feed troughs full of hose water doubling as immersion baths. This is a good time to ease into the practice of plunges. And who knows – maybe you’ll dig ’em so much that you consider employing them in winter, too.

Third, for all the negative (and positive) stuff surrounding cold plunges, I think there’s real merit in them. They aren’t faddish, they aren’t (necessarily) dangerous, and though they’re not magical, brief exposure to cold can serve as a potent hormetic stressor that can induce positive adaptations.

Fourth, I’ve been incorporating them into my own routine for a few years now, and I’ve noticed a big difference. I think you guys will, too, and I think a community-wide push to systematically test the effect of cold plunges will give us a lot of data.

Okay, so how do I do it?

Come up with a goal that cold plunges may help realize. The link between your goal and the plunges should be plausible, of course. People make a lot of fantastical claims about the benefits of cold water plunges. Some say it’ll make you immune to the ravages of even the most pernicious pathogens. Some folks claim that cold water plunges will fine tune your metabolism. And some people swear that there’s no better hangover cure than a few minutes in some really cold water. While I have little doubt that there are kernels of truth hidden within most of these claims, the bulk of the established research has hitherto focused on workout recovery and fat loss.

Here are a couple ideas, but you can definitely come up with your own:

  • I want to improve workout recovery.
  • I want to lose body fat.

Then, come up with a hypothesis:

  • Post-workout cold plunges will improve recovery, reduce soreness, and increase subsequent performance.
  • Daily cold plunges will reduce body fat without affecting lean mass.

Let’s choose “workout recovery.” Identify the variables and note how they may affect the outcome:

  • Water temperature – Is colder better? Is there such a thing as “too cold”?
  • Time spent plunging – Is five minutes better than three? Is there such a thing as “too long”?
  • Frequency – Every day or every other day?
  • Contrast – Is cold/hot contrast water immersion better?
  • Body parts immersed – Is full body necessary? What if I just stick the legs in? Do I need to dunk my head? Do I only need to dunk the body parts I just worked out?
  • Time of day – Does it matter how far post-workout I take the plunge?
  • Workout intensity and volume – The intensity and volume of the workout itself are obviously huge determinants of how well you recover.

Test one variable at a time. If you change more than one variable from one plunge to the next you won’t be able to attribute the positive or negative results to the accurate variable.

Then, decide what you’ll be measuring in order to quantify “workout recovery”:

  • Subjective perception of soreness, ranked 1-10.
  • Heart rate upon waking, indicative of “recovery.” Overtrained individuals will often wake with elevated heart rates.
  • Weight lifted, reps hit, sprint times, mile times, and other markers of performance.

Oh, and if you want really strong results, be sure to introduce a period where you remove the cold plunges and note the change (or lack thereof) in workout recovery.

There are inherent limits to this brand of personal science, but so what?

Again, you are not a team of objective scientists, slavishly eliminating confounding variables (or trying your best) to test a single, solitary change and get published. You’re the scientist, the subject, and the reviewer. Ultimately, you’re just trying to help yourself and improve your health, not get published. You can cut corners. You won’t be able to eliminate confounders. Your diet won’t be completely static throughout, nor will your workouts, or the weather, or your sleep, or your stress levels. Things may have changed without the introduction of the variable, since working out consistently will generally produce improved performance, with or without a cold plunge. These things and more will affect the results of what you test, but that’s okay. After all, that’s life.

Okay. I’ve said my piece. Now, it’s your turn to get out there and get into some cold water. Shoot for around 60 degrees F, which will feel cold but not shockingly so. Stay in for as long as you can handle to start. Be sure to let me know how it goes!

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Cold plunges…I do these weekly while making my way down one of the local mountains which i hike. The mountains have a few streams, each about a foot to one and a half feet deep. I simply sit in up to the waist (wearing a bathing suit). I’ll even take my shirt off and soak my torso. It is so refreshing after a hike. I often hold a metal rod while doing this, too, because i heard that metal conducts minerals into our bodies from natural water sources; not sure if this is true, but what the hell…

    Brad wrote on June 5th, 2012
  2. I’ll leave that to the professionals :)

    Groktimus Primal wrote on June 5th, 2012
  3. Last summer I started using cold showers to recover and it was a big help. This summer I have been employing cold baths for about 10 minutes and about 30 seconds after laying in the tub, I find the cold water to be extremely relaxing. Also, it seems like I can handle cooler water with a bath instead of a shower. I’ve been doing lat pull downs, which I’m not used to, to train for pull-ups. Without the cold water therapy, I think I’d be having a very rough time with the training!

    Emily Mekeel wrote on June 5th, 2012
  4. My personal experiments show that 40 degree water is best for muscle recovery. 60 degrees or less seems to be the sweet spot for weight loss. It has been said the cold receptors in the skin begin firing at 50-55 degrees.

    otzi wrote on June 5th, 2012
  5. This is SO EXCITING!!! I am glad you are starting this series! I am not sure about the cold water plunges, because I don’t want to improve workout recovery or lose body fat and I am not sure what it might help me with….but yeah I have done a lot of self experimentation lately. “If I stop eating dairy, my post nasal drip will go away.” Sucess! “If I eat 2500–3000 calories a day, in addition to working out, I will build more muscle than I have been on less calories.” Yeah my butt and thighs just got fat…but I also got my period at the time so I am still giving this one a go… Anyway, stuff like that. I just never thought about being more rigorous about logging and journaling. Lots of people have recommended it, but I haven’t had the patience I guess. Maybe now is time to start. This is fantastic, it really renews a sense of adventure in someone who has become but bored and perhaps complacent. Onward into uncharted territory!!! Thanks Mark!

    Cristina wrote on June 5th, 2012
    • Instead of cold plunges, you could simply try rinsing your legs with cold water for 20-60 seconds after a warm shower.

      Brad wrote on June 5th, 2012
    • There seems to be some anecdotal evidence that cold plunges or cold showers lead to fewer colds and illnesses, and also better skin. Plus, some people find them energizing. These might be things worth experimenting with.

      John wrote on June 5th, 2012
      • I remember that hot and cold showers were meant to be good for your immune system.

        This comes at the perfect time, I was gonna start with hot/ cold shower this wekk… no bath, so I hope this will still do me some good. :) Goal is weight loss.

        I am still tracking everything I eat, and am impressed how quickly I now notice trouble makers. Diet coke after 4 weeks of a break? Macadamia nuts for lunch? Severe stomach cramps. The verdict is still out on eggs, will have to try again next week – they were not good for me after 4 weeks of VLCD.

        Okay, so cold showers next…

        Gila wrote on June 5th, 2012
        • I track everything I eat, as well. Now, I always know what irked my digestive system or what new habit caused the scale to climb.

          Plus, I just like knowing what I put in my body — it’s the only one I have, after all.

          Nicole wrote on June 5th, 2012
        • I used to eat eggs several times a week for years. Then, one day i experienced severed cramping and diarrhea after a meal of only eggs. This happened many times afterwards, so much so that i rarely eat eggs now. In short, i developed an allergy to eggs. Apparently the same thing happens to many others too.

          In order to track the effect of certain foods, i think it helps if you consume them on their own.

          Brad wrote on June 5th, 2012
  6. You missed the most immediate and recognizable benefit of cold water on the body: incredibly good mood and energy afterwards.

    People with depression and anxiety are finding huge benefits from cold water showers because it seems to almost reset your brain and stop circular ruminating type thinking and it leaves you feeling glorious all over and full of energy for hours afterwards.

    The other benefits are just gravy as far as I’m concerned.

    Try a normal shower then set it to full cold and “dance” in and out of it to cover as much of your body as possible and try to soak your head and face as much as possible.

    I guarantee you will feel incredibly positive and energetic if not laughing out loud right after.

    JohnC wrote on June 5th, 2012
    • Couldn’t agree with you more!

      After a stressfull day/week, most people just want to take a long, hot bath. But end it off or substitute it with a cold shower or plunge and I promise you’ll feel even more relaxed and sprightly

      Paula wrote on June 8th, 2012
    • I did this once but instead of laughing, I was crying. Middle of winter in NJ, living in an RV and the pilot light kept going out during the night. Maybe it’s different if it’s a choice (I worked in NYC and couldn’t go another day without a shower).

      candy wrote on June 8th, 2012
  7. I just started taking cool/almost cold showers rather than my usual steaming hot ones. I can’t say that I’m at the point that I like it yet, but I have noticed that my tolerance for the cooler water temp does seem to be increasing after less than a week. Maybe by next week I’ll be able to say that I like it…

    Cathy wrote on June 5th, 2012
  8. Richard Nikoley has been doing much investigation into this matter, as well. Then again, I’m sure that you knew that.

    Joseph Fetz wrote on June 5th, 2012
  9. As a kid I’ve always slept with my room as cold as it could get(I live in Ohio so winters get rather cold), and still do however being based in California doesn’t make for a very cold night(even in winter). As a kid and even now I rarely get sick. I started doing “cold therapy” as I call it, and drive to work with the windows down in the morning, take a cold shower after my workout in the afternoon, and a cold shower at night before I go to bed. I have notice a significant reduction in the soreness level overall which is really encouraging. I hope also that the “fat burning” works also, because this would be so simple for ANYONE to lose weight and become healthier overall.

    Nathan wrote on June 5th, 2012
  10. Ok, can’t do the cold plunges, sorry, but I have been logging everything from activity to weather for the last five years and it is very interesting. I can go back and actually see what happened but more importantly, why. I haven’t reached the stage where I can quit logging activity yet, but soon I should be at my goal and have all that knowledge of why things change or happen so I am better prepared as I move forward.

    Tammy wrote on June 5th, 2012
  11. Lake Michigan is pretty damned sweet this time of year on a hot day…Cold is more than hormetic stressor, I think…it reduces inflammation and the inflammatory cascade, relives pain, and give a person a psychological boost, for sure. I really have started to love them, after a long period of loathing them…funny how that works…

    S Andrei Ostric wrote on June 5th, 2012
  12. Started these a couple of months ago when Nikoley did his first write-up on it. Cold tap which was around 52-58 degrees F in a large jacuzzi tub. First few times, could only do less than 20 minutes, but have since logged a few 35+ min sessions.

    I’m a fairly lean guy, so no noticeable reductions in body fat, but I certainly notice improved recovery. However, some of this is from better eating, so who knows how much is attributable to each.

    jofjltncb6 wrote on June 5th, 2012
  13. I start with a warm shower and then turn the hot water off to finish up. It helps start the day off better. I’ve noticed my warm shower is no longer steaming hot because I no longer like the water being that hot. Haven’t convinced anyone else to do it yet though. Same goes for the diet.

    Brian wrote on June 5th, 2012
  14. Great timing! I recently started cold showers in the morning, with “Tim Ferriss” style cold baths at night. My primary goal is to burn off the few lbs I gained last semester, and then I’m shooting for even lower body fat.
    In the week I’ve been doing these, I’ve dropped about 5 lbs, and my moobs (a remnant from my obese days) seem to be shrinking daily. I’m logging and will be excited to share my results.

    Tom wrote on June 5th, 2012
  15. We swim in the Great Lakes year round and only wear wetsuits when the water is below 45F. These aren’t in-and-out “polar bear” plunges, but 30-40 minute immersions. I can vouch first hand about the physiological benefits of this extended cold water exposure. In addition to what you cited above, there are extended mood benefits due to anti-depressive effects of cold water exposure. All good stuff!

    Steve wrote on June 5th, 2012
  16. I have actually begun taking cold/cool showers before bed to help fall asleep. It has worked pretty well.

    Brian wrote on June 5th, 2012
  17. After a hot shower, I let cool – not cold – water run on my arms and torso, both front and back. This is a classic hydrotherapy treatment to increase circulation and detoxification and decrease inflammation. It’s the change in temperature that is important, but it doesn’t have to be ice cold to work.

    Debra wrote on June 5th, 2012
  18. My mom used to rub ice on her face and neck for 10-15 mins every night. I never asked he until recently and she said it invigorated her skin and closed her pores. Not sure what that did but she had a beautiful complexion well into her 70’s!

    I usally just say something inappropriate to my wife and she gives me a cold slap in the face! It works.

    Pastor Dave wrote on June 5th, 2012
  19. I have been obsessive about keeping records concerning weight/eating/exercise for years, and love to experiment (on myself and only occasionally others … ) I go back often over the data to find the links. The major overall factor when I felt the best (and felt I looked the best), as confirmed by my blood work, is not one I can replicate unfortunately so looking for everything else I can do.

    I am cold all the time, due to the fantastic job I’ve done messing up my metabolism, but maybe some hair of the dog might be the ticket to restart my fat burning, eh? I am not sure how to quantify fat loss easily, I guess I’ll use overall weight. I will start with a bathtub of cold water tonight.

    Deadnskinny wrote on June 5th, 2012
    • I used to get so cold after showering. When I let the tap run cold for the last few minutes of my shower, I felt warm afterwards, and stayed warm.

      fitmom wrote on June 5th, 2012
  20. I started taking cold showers last year training for a Tough Mudder. I found that my recovery after working out was quicker if I took the cold showers. Sometimes after having a hard trail run I will immerse myself into the cold waters of the James where I run it is very helpful to my knees and feet. I continue to take cold showers after working out and after a hard day at work.

    Michael wrote on June 5th, 2012
  21. Great post!

    I have studied with some Systema (Russian Martial Arts) folks, and they are big advocates of short cold water dousing/plunges. One bit of ‘research’ I’ve done is that I’ve noticed over the years whenever I’m close to getting a cold, if I douse several times daily it is enough to drive off the sickness before it really sets into the body. It’s far more effective than any herbal supplement or standard medicine I’ve come across.
    It’s more of a quick shock treatment, and I get a big heart rush immediately after each dousing. Seems like there are many different ways to use cold water for health, this being just one of them….

    markkuto wrote on June 5th, 2012
    • Oops – I meant ‘heat rush’ not ‘heart rush’ – feels like a quick, instant ‘fever’ for a few seconds….

      markkuto wrote on June 5th, 2012
    • I’m with you 120% I have studied Russian Martial Arts since app. 2005. I have not had a cold in 7 years. If I think I might be getting a cold, I get my 5 gal bucket of ice water and slowly pour over my head.
      Sometimes twice a day the heat rush kills it every time. A cure for the common cold.

      Tim wrote on June 8th, 2012
  22. But cold showers give me goosebumps which make my leg hairs grow which is not pretty at CrossFit :(

    Tressa wrote on June 5th, 2012
  23. Jack Kruse is the master on this subject- he is walking talking proof on cold thermogenesis. I just started cold soaks in the tub and shower in cold water. My husband says it has improved his skin and lowered our gas bill.

    Crick wrote on June 5th, 2012
  24. My favorite part after a few hours in hot water and steam at the Kabuki hot springs in SF was the total immersion in the cold plunge. I could hear my hair sizzle. I felt like I’d been in a meat tenderizer. I’m inspired by the memory and all the talk, it’s cold bath tonight!

    Wendy wrote on June 5th, 2012
  25. Think I’ll give the cold showers a go. The lakes in Arizona near me are not cold unless you go deep. At home, I don’t want to use as much water as is needed for a bath (the conservationist in me). Showers it shall be!

    Kevin wrote on June 5th, 2012
  26. As much as I respect and admire your blog and your approach, Mark, I can’t do what you’re suggesting here. This “using yourself as an experiment” is just too obsessive and self-absorbed for me at this point. I want to get in tune with my body, not tune it. I think the lust for control over ourselves is a very real problem in our culture. Our attitude towards what we do also affects the outcome; I believe there is a good bit of the placebo effect going on here. How much does wanting something to work actually make it work? And then we attribute that result to what we’ve done, instead of our mental state? It’s impossible to know, isn’t it? I also happen to think our collective love-affair with all things scientific and measurable is a bit much sometimes. So to each his own. Have fun.

    Gydle wrote on June 5th, 2012
    • Gydle,

      The benefit to self-experimentation is that we are all different. I have found that when I add dairy to my diet, nothing bad happens. However, for my friend, his weight loss stops…

      We are all different, massive statistical studies help steer us to understanding our race — but self-experimentation helps steer us to understanding ourselves.

      The placebo effect, if it is actually affecting you, is powerful. So why not take advantage of it? If positive thinking, or tracking your weight loss, or checking your blood pressure presents a positive result — regardless of the reason why — then it’s a positive result and that’s great!

      Remember statistical significance is not as powerful as self-significance. If something works for you, focus on that.

      Chris wrote on June 5th, 2012
      • sorry, I meant understanding our species — Race was not intended

        Chris wrote on June 5th, 2012
      • Yeah, I’m sure you’re right. But I just can’t stomach all the tracking and measuring involved. It probably comes from my history of somewhat disordered eating as a teenager, where the control factor got way out of hand. It took decades to recover and I have no desire to revisit that mindset. I think I have an intuitive feel when something is or isn’t working, or at least I like to think so. :)

        Gydle wrote on June 6th, 2012
        • We all “self experiment” on ourselves at some point even when we don’t realise it. 15 beers last night was not a good idea, note to self: don’t do that again. It can be as simple as that or as complex as Mark’s example. We should be thankful to these people who go to the trouble for our benefit. The whole Paleo / Primal lifestyle is not about following 1 person blindly. This lifestyle is not a 1 size fits all. We all do it differently that benefit each of us in different ways and the only way you find this out – is self experiment.

          Anthony wrote on June 7th, 2012
  27. Well I’m really can’t contribute any sophisticated research, but when I first started my job working in a farm shop I went from sitting on my butt all day to literally being on my feet all day, I couldn’t even sit down to eat, and I was carrying heavy veg about for a few hours too. My feet and lower legs were covered in broken capillaries from day one. My feet were so sore after work I couldn’t sleep. My colleague suggested bathe my feet in cold water when I got home but instead I showered them with icy water from the handshower for about 10 minutes after each shift and it really helped! The pain and swelling went away really quickly and after about a week I just didn’t need to do it anymore and the broken capillaries healed. I’m pretty sure this would have happened given enough time, but it really expedited recovery I am sure.

    Charlotte wrote on June 5th, 2012
  28. So excited for this series!!!

    Chris wrote on June 5th, 2012
  29. There is a well-known bodily response to closing your eyes and splashing cool or cold water on your face: your heart rate will slow, along perhaps with slowed respiration, and some diversion of circulation to your core. This is a response that may be responsible for saving the lives of many people (and pets) who have fallen into icy water and would have drowned or suffered brain damage from lack of oxygen from their extended submersion; in some cases being revived OK after 20-30 minutes underwater.

    Perhaps the ‘recovery’ enhancements that we’re talking about here are related.

    BillP wrote on June 5th, 2012
  30. Many moons ago when I was still eating SAD, I worked out regularly for awhile at a gym with a pool and a hot tub. Sometimes after my workout, I’d take a dip in both, sometimes a few times. I noticed a much improved recovery time on those days. I had forgotten about that – thanks for the memories. :)

    I’ve also not been recovering well from my workouts now that the weather is much warmer, so I think I need to try this.

    Angel wrote on June 5th, 2012
  31. I wonder if a cold shower would help like a cold plunge would? My fiance LOVES finishing a hot shower with a blast of cold water.

    Generally it includes spraying the cold water on me without warning. That might be the appeal.

    Kristina wrote on June 5th, 2012
  32. I just tried this out 2 nights ago, and had a twinge of anxiety while immersed. I stayed in for 15 minutes and felt fine. Cold and goosebumpy, but okay. After toweling off and getting into warm clothes, the heavy duty anxiety attacks hit and wouldn’t ease for quite awhile. I was so hoping for good results, but maybe my body just doesn’t like this cold water therapy.

    A few months ago I tried another type of cold therapy – running around on the outside deck in shorts and a tank top in 28° weather for 30 minutes. Same thing happened afterwards – major anxiety attacks. Blah. :-(

    Michiko wrote on June 5th, 2012
  33. I cannot tell you how psyched I am as a science teacher that you are endorsing The Scientific Method as a life strategy. I’m totally sharing with my classes tomorrow, thank you!

    Jessica wrote on June 5th, 2012
  34. Comments are so essential for me today – thanks everyone! Here’s another critical juncture where Mark presents and the readers rise to the occasion and I go from “I can’t do that” to “Hmm, there’s something here to try”. Lingering hamstrings angst from cardio-queen days. I did cold baths a few times, definitely helped but I dreaded it so much I stopped. But all these posts are so affirming, there’s something here to glom onto, perhaps the final missing link to healing… Psyched for the series, can’t wait to see how this progresses.

    Paula wrote on June 5th, 2012
  35. Okay, I’ll be a guinea pig :). I’ll do 20 minutes in my old clawfoot tub full of cold water 4x a week. I hope to lose some body fat and/or help my immune system. We’ll see!

    K wrote on June 5th, 2012
  36. a book, “survival of the sickest,” theorizes that some common diseases had an evolutionary benefit.
    The benefit of diabetes, of having excess sugar in the bloodstream, is that in extreme cold, cells will freeze at a lower temp.

    I wonder if plunging into extreme cold often and for long sessions is asking the body to adapt to extreme cold? One way is to burn fat for heat. Another is to allow more sugar to circulate in the blood. Just a thought.

    fitmom wrote on June 5th, 2012
    • “I wonder if plunging into extreme cold often and for long sessions is asking the body to adapt to extreme cold?”

      Yes, i believe it is. Like most things, our body gets used to certain set point and in order to achieve the same effects as before, one must alter the factors. From my understanding, the same applies with cold exposure.

      Brad wrote on June 5th, 2012
  37. I do water aerobics twice a week — the pool is cool-ish (but not cold, alas) and the room is just horribly hot (GA in the coming-onto-summer). The locker room feels very cold afterwards, so I used to take a warm shower. Now, I start off warm and turn the water down (pretty quickly) as my skin adapts. LOVE it! I don’t want to get out, even when it’s down to all-cold. Too soon yet to see any real effects, other than just really liking it. But for those recoiling: try starting out at your normal shower temp and then lowering the temp.

    Elenor wrote on June 5th, 2012
  38. Ok really hard to do cold plunges when you live in the desert. During the summer my cold water is over 100 degrees….

    Diane wrote on June 5th, 2012
  39. Come to Santa Rosa, NM. Bluehole is 65 degrees year round and when it’s ninety-five plus out, diving in there is quite a zinger!

    brenda wrote on June 5th, 2012
  40. Whenever i do cold icebaths (50 degrees for hips Down for 8 minutes) i get extremely internally cold for extended periods after. Even after i change my lips will be blue for an hour later. Any suggestions to still reap the benefits ?

    nearly.primal wrote on June 5th, 2012
    • Simple: don’t expose yourself to such cold temperatures. Gradually build-up to colder temps. You want to trigger an acute stress response. You do not want to overdo it.

      Brad wrote on June 5th, 2012

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