Amongst many other benefits which we will uncover in these next paragraphs , one that did grab my attention was that it does increase your Lifespan. Since I am going to live to 100 I got super interested in cold exposure .
I came across the benefits of cold water exposure when I got interested in Wim hof “ The iceman”.
His life story was fascinating to read, his method with very interesting and based on three pillars, cold therapy, breathing, and commitment. So I tried one of his online course for 10 weeks , followed his guidelines and started feeling the benefits almost after the first week. This was 2 years ago , and I have put his method in place on a daily basis , and it has impacted my life in a physical and mental way. It has provided me with long lasting changes to my immune system, lymphatic, circulatory, respiratory and digestive system, as well as a deeper capacity to concentrate , reduce the grip that any kind of stress can have on me and finally gave me an overhaul sense of well being.
What are the Cold Exposure benefits?
Improve tolerance to cold !
I use to feel the cold , or feel cold very quickly before I started this cold exposure. After a few weeks of gradually increasing the cold water exposure time I was able to tolerate it , and subsequently a month later I could stand under a cold shower for a full 5 mins in winter. So this had reset my body temperature control by relying totally on my own heat producing mechanisms. So now my body is able to heat itself up , and does not depend on external sources of heat, like house heating or extra layers of clothing, etc.
Helps weight loss!
Cold exposure increases your metabolism producing shivering and non shivering thermogenesis and activates the immune system. It also activates the production of brown fat, which helps burn more calories, boosts the metabolism by increasing metabolic rate by 16% and help eliminate white fat. This brown fat can essentially turn calories from food into heat , and this process happens at the mitochondrial level . Exposure to cold temperatures leads to increased levels of adiponectin, a protein that increases fat burning Low levels of which are associated with obesity. Researchers have concluded that frequent cold exposure might be an acceptable and economical way to address the current obesity problem.
Any activity that pushes your muscles beyond the normal limits that you are used to will lead to microscopic tears in the muscle fibres, stiffness and inflammation of the tissue. This stiffness is known as delayed onset muscle soreness or DOM’s. Cold water immersion will lower the damaged tissues temperature , constrict the blood vessels, reduce the swelling due to inflammation and even numbs the nerve endings to bring immediate relief to any pain.
Improved well being
Just step into a cold shower and ….yes it may seem cold but once to wrap your mind around it and relax you will feel your mood improve and that will make you happier.
Cold water seems to triggers a multitude of mood boosting neurotransmitters which naturally make you feel happy.
Improves lymphatic circulation
The lymphatic system is a network of vessels that move waste, bacteria and microbes away from the cells.It helps cleanse your body, and relies on muscle contraction to pump the lymph fluid through the vessels.So if you lead a sedentary life, don’t exercise, then your lymphatic system becomes slow and inefficient and this could result in flue, joint pain, infection and disease.
So when you immerse yourself in a cold bath the lymph vessels contract and send the lymph fluids throughout your body, therefore flushing the waste from the area. This in turn triggers the immune system’s white blood cells, to attack and destroy any unwanted substance in the fluid. There is a kind of Domino effect as the cold water affects the lymphatic system but in turn the immune system as well.
Improves cardiovascular circulation
When you immerse yourself in cold water for example, the blood rushes to the vital organs, so your heart is forced to pump more efficiently, pushing the blood to every part of the body and delivering oxygen and nutrients. So as well as exercise and diet , cold exposure promotes a healthy body and blood circulation. This, in my opinion is one of the major benefits of cold exposure , as poor circulation can ultimately lead to health problems like fatigue, headaches, high blood pressure, muscle cramping or even heart attack and stroke.
Helps your sleep quality
A cold shower one hour before you go to sleep will drop your body temperature and will help along with your circadian rhythm. At night your body cools slightly, signalling to your brain that it’s time to release melatonin and prepare for sleep. I tend to have a cold shower ( not too cold ) at night as opposed to warm, I know there is a lot of controversy on the matter , but cold does it for me….
Finnally! Increases will power!
Getting exposed to cold water on a regular basis has a huge affect on your will power and self control. Willpower can be trained by engaging your brain to do things it doesn’t normally want to do. And this attitude translates into other areas of your life, so we can all become the best version of ourselves…..remember this…we all have willpower…..so let’s use it..
NOTE: Cold exposure conditioning, it’s important to note that this is NOT for everyone. Cold exposure conditioning can be very dangerous if its not used correctly or if you have any medical issues. The material on this article is for informational purposes only. As each individual situation is unique, you should use proper discretion, in consultation with a health care practitioner, before undertaking the protocols, diet, exercises, techniques, training methods, or otherwise described herein. The author (me) expressly disclaim responsibility for any adverse effects that may result from the use or application of the information contained herein.