Cold therapy has been proven to reduce inflammation and improve recovery in athletes. Whether you are a bodybuilder or a runner, cold baths or cold plunges can help with muscle pain and soreness. It can also provide a mental boost by releasing endorphins and "feel-good" chemicals in your brain.
Beginners are encouraged to start with a moderate temperature of 40-55 degrees and work their way down to 33 to 39 degrees. The "ideal" cold plunge time is around 3-5 minutes, with many advanced practitioners going for 20 minutes.
Here is a goal "workout" you can try if you are jumping right into a cold plunge:
- 5 x 30 seconds with 1 min rest
- 3 x 1 minutes with 30 seconds rest
- 2 full minutes
- 3 full minutes
- 4 full minutes
- 5 full minutes
Try doing each one daily for a week before moving to the next stage. For example, for a solid week do 5 x 30 seconds of cold plunge with 1 minute of rest. The next week, try 3 x 1 minutes with 30 seconds rest.
If you keep doing cold plunges daily, it will be a lot easier to adjust than it will be by giving up the practice and trying to restart each time.
By getting into cold plunges this way, you can reduce the shock while keeping up the positive benefits of adjusting your body to the practice and reaping the benefits of cold therapy.