top of page
Search

Concrete Core Ice bath benefits & FAQ!

Updated: Nov 10, 2023

Ice baths, or Cold-Water Immersion, is a popular recovery method used by athletes and fitness enthusiasts. I got the idea to "polar plunge at home" while talking to a fellow former D1 Athlete, Connor Shennan. Concrete Core is about Movement, Nutrition, and Recovery. This post is to serve as a resource for those looking to optimize their weight loss/fitness journey. Without further ado! Here are 10 benefits that have been attributed to using ice baths:


  1. Reduced inflammation and soreness: Cold therapy has been shown to reduce inflammation and soreness in muscles and joints, which can help with recovery after exercise or injury. (source:https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3956737/)

  2. Improved circulation: The vasoconstriction caused by cold water immersion can help to improve circulation and increase blood flow to the affected areas, promoting healing and reducing swelling. (source:https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5411446/)

  3. Increased metabolic rate: Exposure to cold temperatures can increase metabolic rate, which can aid in weight loss efforts. (source:https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27876809/)

  4. Enhanced immune function: Cold exposure has been shown to stimulate the production of immune cells, which can help to boost the immune system. (source:https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26149277/)

  5. Reduced fatigue: Ice baths have been shown to reduce feelings of fatigue and improve overall mood. (source:https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3956737/)


As with any medical or health-related activity, it's always a good idea to consult with a healthcare provider before trying a new health routine.


ACCLIMATION


Acclimating to an ice bath can be intimidating, but it's possible to do so safely! Here are some helpful tips to acclimate safely:

  1. Start with a shorter duration: Begin with a shorter duration, such as 1-2 minutes, and gradually increase time over several sessions. Ideal duration is roughly 3.5 Minutes. Don't stay in the ice bath longer than 10 minutes.

  2. Start with warmer water: Fill the ice bath with slightly warmer water and gradually decrease the temperature over time.

  3. Focus on breathing: Slow, controlled breathing can help you relax and reduce discomfort while in the ice bath. Try taking slow, deep breaths to help calm your body and mind.

  4. Stay active: Gently move your arms and legs in the ice bath to help keep your blood circulating and prevent stiffness. Don't stay completely still while in the ice bath.

  5. Listen to your body: If you experience any pain, dizziness, or shortness of breath, immediately exit the ice bath. Don't push yourself too hard too quickly.

  6. Consult with a healthcare professional: If you have any underlying medical conditions, such as heart problems or Raynaud's disease, it's important to consult with a healthcare professional before attempting an ice bath.


Remember that acclimating to an ice bath takes time and patience. Start slowly and gradually increase the intensity over time, and always prioritize your safety and comfort.


WHEN Should I Plunge?


The ideal time to take an ice bath is typically within 30 minutes to 2 hours after finishing exercise or activity.


The reason is that the body's natural inflammatory response to exercise peaks at around this time, and the cold water of the ice bath can help to reduce inflammation and swelling in muscles. It's also important to note that ice baths are not recommended immediately before exercise, as they can actually impair muscle function and increase the risk of injury.


"After cold exposure, your body heats up. Body temperature increases tend to wake us up, whereas body temperature decreases tend to shift us toward sleepy states. Thus, I suggest using deliberate cold early in the day and not too close to bedtime. Sometimes it’s better to do it late than never, but not if it perturbs your sleep. If deliberate cold affects your sleep, try doing it earlier in the day, or not at all." (Source: Andrew Huberman - Standford Neurologist)


BUT WAIT.. There's more!


Cold Water Exposure is also praised for other health benefits like "Increasing your Metabolic Effect",

"Improving your Mood," and "Increasing Adrenaline."


In my previous Blog post "10 Tips for Fat Loss" we discussed N.E.A.T. (Non exercise activity Thermogenesis)

NEAT is a tool that can be used to increase your daily caloric burn. Examples include fidgeting, pacing, or even SHIVERING. Shivering releases succinate from muscles, which activates brown fat thermogenesis, and causes fat to mobilize and oxidize. To apply this, it is better to allow the body to naturally heat up and dry off after a cold plunge!


Now lets discuss "Improving Your Mood!" and "Increasing Adrenaline." These work hand-in-hand as your body often co-releases adrenaline with dopamine when faced with stress. For some people, the thought or "dread" of cold plunging causes a release of dopamine even BEFORE the plunge. During the plunge, another increase in these chemicals will come immediately! The increase in dopamine is long lasting, and comparable to what someone experiences from cocaine, except it is a sustained rise in dopamine for up to 3hrs before returning to baseline!


These effects and protocols are discussed by our good friend, Andrew Huberman, here.


I hope this post provided a valuable brain boost, and if you were considering cold plunges - you're more confident moving forward!


Cheers!

Max



27 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page