In 2022, the discussion around cold water and it's benefits were brought to the forefront of main stream media when the BBC introduced a prime time tv programme 'Freeze The Fear' with Wim Hoff. For many, the very idea of this makes you shiver, but what are some of the key benefits of cold water immersion?
Cold showers have been proven to reduce stress levels, by regularly having cold showers, you impose a small amount of stress to your body, known as hardening, which means that your body gradually gets used to handling levels of stress. Exposing your body to this level of stress has been shown to help people keep a cool head when in stressful situations.
It has also been found to promote a higher level of alertness - cold showers wake your body up, inducing a higher state of alertness.
Not only are there physical benefits, but cold water can have an incredible impact on mental wellbeing. Immersing yourself in cold water releases mood boosting hormones and exposes our bodies to a form of 'healthy stress'. Some describe it as a sensory experience that takes you out of your head and into your body.
The good news is that you don't need to swim for long periods of time, or jump into a plunge pool - research by one of the leading scientists in this field (Dr Susanna Søberg) revealed that from a study of more than 3,000 volunteers, those who ended a warm shower with a 30-90 second cold shower every day for a month, were 30% less likely to take time off work for sickness than those who just took regular warm showers. For those shivering at the very thought of this, the good news is that Dr Susanna concluded that those who just took a 30 second shower, reaped the same benefits as those taking a 90 second shower.
Are you up for 'Freezing The Fear'? Follow Wim Hoff's guided videos before taking the plunge.
Listen to Dr Susanna Søberg's podcast with Dr Chaterjee below.