Cold exposure training is a hot topic in the fitness world right now (play on words intended…because I’m a nerd). It’s been shown to have some pretty amazing benefits for your body–that is if you’re willing to dip your most intimate parts in some chilly water. In this blog, we’ll cover 11 reasons why to dip your bits and nips in that cold S*$%! Aka, how cold exposure training can be beneficial for your health and performance, with tips on how to start incorporating it into your routine today.
First and foremost, Cold-exposure training can have a profound effect on your mitochondria, which are the powerhouse of our cells. Why do we care about ‘mitochondria’? They produce energy for all of your body’s functions–from regulating blood pressure to repairing tissue damage from a hard workout. Come on now, do you really need the other 11 reasons? That alone is worth the pain
The benefits of cold exposure training can be summarized in 11 points:
-Improved mitochondrial function, which leads to a healthier heart and circulatory system
-Reduced inflammation throughout the body, leading to less pain from sore muscles or injuries after workouts/accidents
-Increased endorphins caused by chilly sensations on your skin that lead to better moods
-Improved sleep quality, which leads to improved mental health and reduced risk of chronic disease.
-Reduced risk of chronic diseases: cold exposure training can help regulate blood sugar levels, which leads to a reduced risk for diabetes and weight gain.
-Improved workout recovery times–which means stronger muscles due to decreased soreness after workouts or accidents; and
-Reduced pain from muscle soreness/injury after a workout or accident.
The best part? Cold exposure training is something everyone can benefit from–no matter what your fitness level or goals are! It has been shown to help with inflammation, moods, sleep quality, and more. These benefits are worth the initial discomfort you might feel when first jumping in (or, turning your shower handle towards that icy blue color ;). You don’t need to be an athlete, at all, to reap the benefits of this biohack. Yep, can you imagine? You’re biohacking! You’re one of those people now :-p
Cold exposure training is a great way for people who don’t have time or access to perform an intense workout every day because it’s not as hard on the muscles, joints, or ligaments as more traditional workouts and other injuries. Research has shown that when you expose yourself to cold temperatures, it increases mitochondrial efficiency by nearly 40%.
Now if you are an athlete, or a weekend athlete, and you’re looking to up your game, cold exposure training can help. The increased efficiency of mitochondrial production from being exposed to cold temperatures increases the body’s ability to produce ATP–our cells’ energy source. This means that when you exercise in colder temps, not only will it be easier for you to push yourself harder and longer, but your recovery time will be quicker as well.
In addition to its effect on the mitochondria and ATP production, cold exposure training also has a profound impact on inflammation in the body. When you’re exposed to cooler temperatures through exercise or air conditioning, it decreases levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines (substances that are produced in response to infection or injury). This allows the body’s natural inflammatory process, which is important for healing, to flow more easily.
Now that we know cold exposure training has a positive effect on our mitochondria and inflammation levels, it can have a pretty big impact on your workout recovery time too! When you expose yourself to cooler temperatures, your body will expend more energy creating heat, which means you’ll need more time to recover.
The next benefit of cold exposure training is that it makes your workout feel easier and less stressful on the nervous system–a situation called hormesis. This happens because cool temperatures activate brown fat tissue (which burns calories at a higher rate than other types of fat) and the parasympathetic nervous system (which is responsible for regulating sleep, digestion, sexual function, mood).
Cold exposure training can also improve your immune response. When you’re exposed to cold temps on a regular basis–even just once or twice per week–your body’s natural defense mechanisms are strengthened.
So there you have it. My best argument encouraging you to turn that dial to the blue, and keep it there, for a few minutes every day.
Thanks for your time! And, per usual,
Live Life Well,