Updated: Jun 14
Back when I was in graduate school at Bowling Green State University (Go Falcons!), I first would jump into the ice bath, which was purely to help my muscle soreness. Back then, my workouts consisted of lifting and running stadium stairs at sunrise. There wasn't anything better. We did it in the cold, in the spring and summer, 2–3 times per week. The leg soreness was out of control! So, I would head to the trainer's room and jump in the ice bath, hoping walking up and down the stairs wouldn't be so painful.
What I should have realized were the other benefits of the ice bath.
Improved immune response
Improved quality of sleep
Higher energy levels
Wim Hof (Ice Man) participants have reported relief of symptoms for autoimmune diseases
Helps improve depression and anxiety
The combination of ice bath/shower, deep breathing, and mindset can do a lot to improve overall health. If you are new to the cold, don’t just jump into a bath! Start by adding 15 seconds of cold at the end of the shower and then increase that over time. I worked up to 4 minutes in the cold shower before I jumped into an ice bath.
I enjoy being outdoors (totally different experience from being in an athletic training room in grad school) so the ice bath is perfect for outside and is used in the summer and winter.
I’m willing to do whatever it takes to improve my health and fitness. The goal is to get comfortable with being uncomfortable and that is part of what the ice bath does.
Wim Hof (Ice Man) has a free app where he takes you through the deep breathing and you can record your cold shower times as well. It’s worth trying!
Until next time,
Try a 15 seconds of cold at the end of your shower!