Cold-water plunges are nothing new. People in cold-weather countries have been swimming in freezing waters for centuries.
In the 1800s, people without wetsuits crossed the English Channel.
In 1903, in the United States, members of the newly formed Coney Island Polar Bear Club took their first plunge in the frigid ocean.
What is relatively new about cold plunges is that today you can take them in your own backyard.
Are cold plunges really good for you?
Submerging in cold water is invigorating. It makes you feel alive. It’s said to facilitate muscle recovery, boost energy and mood, and even bolster the immune system.
But are there real cold plunge benefits? The short answer is yes—especially if done in a way that’s right for you.
While cold plunges are beneficial for many people, they’re best taken with a sense of your overall health and how you personally would benefit.
The change in temperature so many people find invigorating can come as a shock to cold-plunge newcomers—the a sudden dunk in cold water can cause gasping or hyperventilating, according to the National Council for Cold Water Safety—so you may want to start slow, in warmer water and for shorter periods. The American Heart Association advises limiting exposure. What that limit is depends on you. Consult your healthcare provider if you’re uncertain.
Like a bicyclist who thinks exercising and feeling the wind in her face are well worth having to wear a helmet and check the tires, however, more and more people who take the plunge are finding the rewards well worth the advised safety measures. Because the rewards can be great.
Relief from depression and pain
What are the rewards of plunging?
Submersion in cold water provides a significant energy boost, Safai said; celebrities from the soccer player David Beckham to the singer Lady Gaga swear by it. So do many professional athletes who routinely take a post-game plunge.
A cold plunge can help tired muscles recover.
Or strengthen the immune system or detoxify your body.
Or sharpen focus, boost mood, relieve stress, or facilitate sleep.
In one study, a man found permanent relief from chronic nerve pain during a minute-long swim in 51-degree water. “Regardless of age,” one researcher wrote, “the cold-water immersion … was effective in eliciting a powerful analgesic response.”
A 2008 study found taking cold showers eased depression.
Plunge and Wellness Shop
Are you wondering, “Where can I find a cold plunge near me?”?
We’ll have you chilling out in no time.