Here's why cold plunging is a really good addition to fitness training
As an athlete, you're always looking for ways to improve your performance and recovery. One practice that has gained popularity in recent years is cold plunging, or exposing your body to cold water for a short period of time. While it may seem intimidating at first, cold plunging can have numerous benefits for athletes. In this article, we'll explore some of these benefits and why you should consider incorporating cold plunging into your training routine.Reduced inflammation and muscle soreness
Intense physical activity can cause inflammation and muscle soreness, which can affect your performance and recovery time. Cold plunging has been shown to reduce inflammation and alleviate muscle soreness by constricting blood vessels and reducing blood flow to affected areas. This helps to flush out lactic acid and other metabolic waste products that contribute to soreness and inflammation, allowing your muscles to recover more quickly and reducing your risk of injury.Improved circulation
Cold water immersion has also been shown to improve circulation by increasing blood flow to vital organs and tissues. This increased circulation can help to deliver more oxygen and nutrients to your muscles, allowing them to function more efficiently and recover more quickly. Additionally, improved circulation can help to reduce the risk of blood clots and other circulatory disorders, which can be particularly important for athletes who are at higher risk for these conditions.
Enhanced mental toughness
Cold plunging can also help to improve your mental toughness and resilience. Exposing your body to cold water can be an uncomfortable and even painful experience, but by persevering through the discomfort, you can build your mental toughness and develop a greater sense of control over your body and mind. This can translate to improved performance and greater confidence in your abilities, both on and off the field.Boosted immune function
Exposing your body to cold water can also stimulate your immune system, which can help to ward off infections and illnesses. Cold water immersion has been shown to increase the production of white blood cells, which are responsible for fighting off pathogens and other foreign invaders. By boosting your immune function, cold plunging can help to keep you healthy and performing at your best, even during cold and flu season.Increased energy and alertness
Finally, cold plunging can help to increase your energy and alertness. When you expose your body to cold water, your heart rate increases and your body releases adrenaline and other hormones that can help to improve focus and concentration. This can be particularly helpful for athletes who need to stay sharp and alert during competitions or intense training sessions.
Where to go
In the wintertime, it is easier to find a body of water and take the plunge. In Ontario and Quebec, willing participants can be found jumping into Georgian Bay, or Lake Ontario in Toronto and other cities. And that's great. There are also cold plunging pools opening up as part of Scandinavian spas such as the La Scandinave in Ontario and Quebec. There are also facilities such as Unbounded in Toronto that specialize in cold plunging and offer a series of iced tubs. If that fails, rig up your own in the backyard or back porch or simply get a shower or bath super cold, and away you go.
Cold plunging can have numerous benefits for athletes, from reducing inflammation and muscle soreness to boosting immune function and improving mental toughness. While it may be uncomfortable at first, incorporating cold plunging into your training routine can help you to perform at your best and recover more quickly. So the next time you're looking for ways to improve your performance and recovery, consider taking the plunge into cold water.