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Cold Water Therapy

What is cold water therapy?

Cold water therapy means immersing your body in cold water (water that’s less than 15°C). To give you a rough idea, the water coming from your cold tap at home will be less than 20°C (and usually between 10 and 20°C). Cold water therapy can involve taking an ice bath, a cold shower or having an outdoor swim. Whichever you choose, it’s usually only for a few minutes at a time. There are also centres and retreats that run more tightly controlled cold water immersion therapy sessions.

Ice swimming is a more extreme type of cold water swimming. This is swimming in water that’s no more than 5°C. It’s become popular in recent years as part of the Wim Hof method. This combines cold therapy, breathing techniques and mind exercises. It aims to get your body and mind into the best possible condition.

What are the benefits of cold water therapy?

Cold water therapy has been reported to benefit the body in many ways, including:

  • reducing muscle pain and stiffness after exercise, by reducing swelling and inflammation

  • improving risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as blood pressure and cholesterol levels

  • boosting the immune system, helping to lower the risk of infection

  • improving general wellbeing, and possibly helping with depression 

 In the 50 Years Young Community the focus is mainly on easily accessible and free places to use cold water therapy. To start off the most obvious is a cold shower in your home home. For about 3 times a week and at the end of your normal warm shower turn it to cold for approximately 30 seconds. The more you persevere, the more you will feel the effects. The next step would be outdoors at places such as the sea, river, lake or even a plunge pool in a stream. If it's your first time play it safe and either go with someone or tell a friend what you're doing. 

Again the longer you can persevere the greater the benefits but if the temperature is below 5 degrees C it is recommended you only spend up to 10-12 minutes in the water. 

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