In the late 50s, there was an experiment conducted by some pretty left-field researchers, who set out to prove that stress improves certain cognitive functions. The subjects would square off in a boxing ring and go at it for a few minutes. Then, when the bell rang, the gloves would come off (literally) and they would square off again, and play chess. While I really enjoy the imagery this conjures up (beefy pugilists exclaiming checkmate…), the message here, is that if you’re under stress, your mental cognition is enhanced. I guess my powers of concentration would also improve if I had Mike Tyson bearing down on me. This said, my stress hormone, Cortisol, would also soar.
I was intrigued to learn that there is a stressor that does NOT elicit Cortisol and as such places your body into a state of U-stress, (The term was coined by endocrinologist Hans Selye, literally meaning “good stress”) instead of Dis-stress.
It’s the same stressor, exposure to which, will send your Nora Epinephrine levels soaring 5-fold. Just 5 minutes of exposure to it will increase your Dopamine levels by 250%.
When these 2 neurotropic chemicals are in the house, you won’t only think better, but your mood and mental acuity are significantly enhanced. It’s the same stressor employed during the Buds hell-week, when Navy Seals earn their stripes, although I doubt that their goal is mood enhancement.
COLDWATER IMMERSION offers many positive side effects. There’s a reason why platoons of civilians clad in floral one-piece bathing suits and rubber bathing caps are practicing their own Navy Seal cold water training.
Just 15minutes of cold water immersion spread out over 3 occasions a week, (5minutes at a time) will:
- reduce inflammation in your joints.
- speed up your metabolism
- accelerate fat loss and turn white fat cells (used to store fat), into brown fat cells, which become a heating furnace for conversion into energy.
- enhance focus
- enhance your mood
- The list goes on…
Simply said, you’re going to feel like a million bucks when the feeling finally returns to your fingers, toes, and other extremities.
No wonder these cold-water bobbers are sharp as whistles, look radiantly healthy, and are getting lean to boot.
I am lucky enough to walk past a beach on my way to the gym and have resolved to donne my bathing trunks, (I’m not quite ready for a swimming cap yet), and get my shiver on after my workout.
Random side-note… The resultant dopamine rush after being exposed to the cold has been used to break addictions. If you’re looking to quit fags, you can replace the dopamine you’d normally find in a drag of nicotine, with an even larger dopamine rush from spending a few minutes in cold water.
Random side not to the random side note… Mark Hubermann (check him out on Spotify), claims that doing this in a fasted state and with 3 cups of coffee consumed 2 hours prior to your plunge, will further enhance the metabolic fat boosting effects.
(That much coffee will help you to strike up a conversation with a navy seal granny, ‘cos this cold water stuff ain’t for sissies.)