Cold Water Plunge

After reading the blog post from Mark’s Daily Apple about the benefits of cold water plunges, I have been toying with the idea of doing them myself.  I hadn’t done anything about it until I recently watched the documentary No Impact Man. I stumbled on a post there about how Japanese homes don’t typically have central heating, which totally blew my mind. I immediately told my husband, who didn’t believe me, even though it’s true. He believes me now because one of his friends who lives in Japan happened to post something on Facebook about it. Figures!

Anyway – one of the things that I liked about No Impact Man and that post in general is that North Americans have gotten used to being comfortable ALL THE TIME! Hot showers? Check! Soft beds? Check! Remote control everything? Check! The list goes on and on. We complain endlessly when we aren’t comfortable. But the thing is, it’s not really a natural state of things and short term discomfort, really makes us stronger and makes us appreciate our comforts.

So – that’s a really long-winded way of saying that it seemed like it was time to start trying out cold water plunges. I want to see if they benefit me in any discernable way. So, yesterday I had a semi-cold shower for one whole minute! Today I had a freezing cold shower for one minute.

From this tiny experiment I did notice that a) it woke me up really well b) I tensed up almost immediately, but then caught myself and tried to relax and [ahem] enjoy the experience, c) I really appreciated switching to the hot water shower afterwards and d) that I felt really invigorated and refreshed when the shower was over. I also have found that I it is too hard to try to jump into a cold shower – it’s a lot easier to start with a warm shower and then turn the temperature down once I’m in.

Next time, I’m going to see if I can have a semi-cold shower for a little longer and then work my way to making the water a little bit colder. I’d also like to see if I get different benefits from having the shower at a different time of day.

I like the idea of being uncomfortable sometimes. It reminds me that being uncomfortable once in a while doesn’t kill us, and that really, we can’t grow as a person if we stay in our comfort zone all the time!