People are now immersing their bodies in ice-cold water in the hope that doing so will strengthen their immune systems and cardiovascular systems. Although there isn't much evidence to support these assertions, cold plunging might be harmful.
Since ancient times, cold plunging has been used for healing, wellness, and athletic recovery. It is referred to as cold water immersion in the field of sports medicine. It's typically done following a workout to reduce inflammation and prevent reoccurring muscle soreness.
But not everyone should cold plunge, and doing so without first consulting a physician is not advised. If you don't do the plunge properly, it could be dangerous in and of itself. If you're thinking about jumping in, it's crucial to take these actions.
TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR
Some individuals may put themselves at risk for unfavorable results. Have a discussion about whether cold plunging is safe for you with your doctor to express your interest in it. The risk may be higher for older adults, people with heart conditions, and people who take medication.
SET YOUR BODY UP
To prevent a cold shock, your body must have time to adapt. After taking a shower, gradually raise the water's temperature to get your body ready for immersion. Howard advises against immediately chilling the water to the absolute minimum. Instead, gradually raise the temperature and give your body 30 to 60 seconds to adjust. According to Howard, "you're conditioning your body to be in that environment, just like you would for a race."
Normal cold plunge temperatures range from 55 to 69 degrees Fahrenheit. Any colder than that poses a health risk. Water below 60 degrees Fahrenheit can kill you in less than a minute, according to the National Center for Water Safety.
BE AWARE OF YOUR BODY
Your body may start to feel uncomfortable as soon as you step into cold water. According to the American Heart Association, cold plunging can result in a sharp, sudden rise in blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing. Additionally, hypothermia may develop more quickly. Pay attention to and listen to your body.
If you notice any of these signs, leave the water immediately:
- chest discomfort or pain
- breathing more frequently or in an inconsistent manner
- feeling faint or dizzy
- Your fingers or toes changing color could be a sign of hypothermia or frostbite.
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