First and foremost, there isn't a lot of reliable research on ice baths and cold plunges. However, more research is being done on the advantages of exposure to cold, and people haven't been doing it for hundreds of years without a good reason.
How else does cold therapy help? It's pretty obvious that it's great for accelerating muscle recovery, treating inflammation, and lowering body swelling.
Here are a few advantages of a cold plunge:
The Vagus Nerve Is Trained By Cold Exposure
The ability to train the vagus nerve is one of the main advantages of cold plunges. The vagus nerve originates in the brain and travels through the face, thorax, and abdomen. The parasympathetic nervous system, which is primarily contributed to by this nerve, regulates a number of vital bodily processes, including our mood, immune response, digestion, heart rate, and more.
The vagus nerve establishes the link between the brain and the gastrointestinal tract, which is like our second brain, and communicates with the brain by communicating information about the health of the internal organs. Your brain and body can be trained to handle stressful situations more effectively by exercising the vagus nerve.
Body Fat Can Be Reduced by Cold Plunges
According to research, taking a cold shower or being exposed to the cold stimulates the body to produce brown fat. A particular kind of fat tissue known as "brown fat" produces energy by calorie burning.
Cold Showers Boost Your Immune System
According to studies, taking a cold shower increases the number of leukocytes, or white blood cells that fight infection and foreign objects. Leukocytes are stimulated when your body is shocked by cold water. Regular cold plunges will help your body become more resistant to illness.
They can raise endorphin levels.
A clinical trial found that taking a cold shower for up to five minutes, two to three times per week, could help with depressive symptoms. Sitting in cold water can quickly stimulate your body, boosting alertness, clarity, and energy while also releasing endorphins, which improve mood.
The release of epinephrine, also known as adrenaline, and norepinephrine is also triggered by exposure to cold through plunges. Remember to breathe, be present, and pay attention to your emotions as you sit in the tub because you'll experience an endorphin rush as soon as you step into the water.
They Promote Muscle Regeneration
Following high-intensity exercise or endurance training, this meta analysis demonstrated that brief periods of cold exposure (less than 5 minutes) can be a highly effective recovery tool.
Timing of cold exposure is crucial for recovery, as Dr. Andrew Huberman observes: "Cold water immersion (but not cold showers) can limit some gains in hypertrophy, strength, or endurance if done within 4 hours of training. Unless your goal is to simply recover without adaptation, it is preferable to wait 6 to 8 hours after training or longer, or to do it before training.
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