Polar bear plunges are just as the name implies – plunging into the ocean in the winter. The Russian, Scandinavians and other crazy people have been doing this for centuries – sometimes even after a hot sauna! Me I have only been doing it for a few months on a regular basis but it has been an awesome experience!
These plunges are said to invigorate, energize and increase one’s stamina, virility and immunity. And I would definitely agree!
There are some amazing health benefits as well, such as –
- Activating brown fat (heat-generating type of fat that burns energy instead of storing it) which aids weight loss.
Swedish research (2009) found that cold temperatures increased the activity in the subjects’ brown fat regions. In fact their cold-induced glucose uptake increased by a factor of 15. Based on animal models, researchers estimate that just 50g of brown fat (which is less than what most study volunteers have been found to have) could burn about 20 percent of your daily caloric intake—and more if ‘encouraged.’
- Helping reduce muscle inflammation and pain after exercise, as well as speed recovery time.
- Increase your tolerance to stress and disease.
This was demonstrated by a study involving 10 healthy people who swim regularly in ice-cold water during the winter. Following exposure to the cold water, researchers noted a:
- “Drastic” decrease in uric acid levels: High levels of uric acid are associated with gout, high blood pressure, kidney disease and being overweight. When uric acid level exceeds about 5.5 mg per deciliter, there is an increased risk for heart disease, fatty liver, obesity, diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease and more.
- Increase in glutathione: Glutathione is your body’s most powerful antioxidant, which keeps all other antioxidants performing at peak levels.
There are also great benefits on a mental/emotional level. Where you feel the fear but you do it anyway. It is never as bad as you think it will be. Great practice for overcoming hurdles in life. Which there always will be – but we practice that feeling of dealing with it and moving forward.
In a spiritual sense, it feeds the soul. Makes you feel alive and connect with nature!
However, there is some risk involved in exposing your body to this temperature shock. So you should be in relatively good shape. For those at risk of stroke, aneurysm, blood pressure problems, or heart disease, the extra stress on your body could increase your risk of a heart attack.
This is what Dr Mercola has to say on the topic:
Personally, I have been experimenting with cold-water immersion for a couple of years. I now go into the shower without allowing it to warm up, and I also jump in the ocean without a wet suit on. I have found that if I hold my breath it really helps adjust to the initial shock, and I rapidly acclimate to the cold. I have come to enjoy it and now view it as a form of healthy stress very similar to exercise.
So why not give it a go and join us on our weekly Sunday plunge at 8.30am Fisherman’s Beach Mornington. If dates or times change I will let you know on my Facebook page.
Looking forward to catching up soon.
Wishing you much love and happiness,