Frequent cold exposure correlates to speeding up recovery after exercise, enhancing your metabolism and reducing inflammation, but is this just the tip of the iceberg for discoveries about cold exposure?
Research is suggesting that controlled exposure to cold could change our entire response to stress, quality of sleep, focus and even our immune response to disease! We can learn so much about what is possible when our bodies and minds work together to face challenge.
Could this help increase athletes performance to be the best in the world?
Wim Hoff, also known as The Ice Man has shown us how far this cold water exposure can be taken! He has broken 20 world records related to cold exposure, such as climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in shorts and running marathons around the polar circle, feats which had previously been considered scientifically impossible.
A University in the Netherlands has shown that through a combination of breathing techniques, focus and cold exposure, Wim was able to voluntarily influence his autonomic nervous system... could this bring about to athletes wanting to enhance performance, or even our healthcare system?
By reappraising your attitude to stress and the sensation of stress you can influence real physiological shifts in your body. This can be as simple as saying 'I feel excited', rather than 'I feels scared', so make sure to give this a go the next time you're feeling nervous about something!
So how do you get started?
This is more than just a cold shower, however that is a start! Remember, you are training to stay in control despite your body's natural shock response which will results in a huge surge of energy (and your brain will probably tell you to get out!). Appropriate breathing, relaxation and focus are the most important elements to master for cold water exposure. Try picking an object in the room to focus on, while controlling your breathing this should help make sure the cold doesn't get the bitter of you!
If this interests you and you want to find out more about how to incorporate cold water exposure into your daily routine, check out my book Inside Out for more on the wonderful Wim Hoff and the programme Wim Hoff: Freeze the Fear!