Saunas and cold plunges have been gaining popularity in recent years as people seek new ways to improve their health and recovery. These practices involve exposing the body to extreme temperatures, with saunas producing intense heat and cold plunges immersing the body in icy water. While these methods may seem extreme, they offer numerous benefits for the mind and body, from reducing stress and improving circulation to boosting the immune system and promoting recovery after exercise. In this article, we will explore the science behind saunas and cold plunges and examine the potential benefits of incorporating these practices into your fitness routine.
Build mental toughness
Using saunas and cold plunges can help build mental toughness by challenging individuals to push through discomfort and endure intense sensations. These practices involve exposing the body to extreme temperatures, which can be physically uncomfortable and mentally challenging. However, regularly engaging in saunas and cold plunges can train the mind to tolerate discomfort and push through difficult situations, which can translate to other areas of life as well. Additionally, the release of endorphins and other feel-good chemicals during and after these practices can boost mood and enhance resilience, further contributing to a stronger and more resilient mindset.
Using a sauna after training can offer numerous benefits for the body and mind. By exposing the body to high temperatures between 160°F to 185°F (71°C to 85°C), for 10 to 20 minutes, depending on your tolerance level saunas can promote muscle relaxation, reduce inflammation, and enhance circulation, which can aid in recovery after exercise. Additionally, the release of endorphins during a sauna session can improve mood and reduce stress levels. It is essential to stay hydrated during and after a sauna session and to listen to your body’s signals to avoid overexposure to heat. Incorporating a sauna session into your post-workout routine can help you recover faster and feel more relaxed and rejuvenated. For more in-depth information on the science behind sauna use, check out ScienceDaily.
Take the plunge
Using a cold plunge, a practice made popular in recent years by people such as Wim Hof and Joe Rogan can offer numerous benefits for the body, including reducing inflammation, decreasing muscle soreness, and enhancing recovery. Cold plunges involve immersing the body in water that is typically around 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit, which can cause blood vessels to constrict and reduce inflammation. This process can help to flush out metabolic waste and reduce muscle soreness, which can speed up recovery time and allow for more frequent and intense training sessions. Experts generally recommend staying in a cold plunge for 3-5 minutes to maximize the benefits, but individuals should listen to their bodies and gradually build up their tolerance over time. Incorporating a cold plunge into a post-workout routine can enhance recovery and help individuals reach their fitness goals faster. For more in-depth information on cold exposure and its benefits check out Huberman lab
Saunas and cold plunges are great ways to alleviate pain and inflammation in the body especially after a hard training session or run. Each has its own set of benefits and challenges when mentally pushing yourself to first of all act but also tolerate the discomfort. It’s important to note that proper use, duration, and temperature are crucial for these to be effective, and it’s always recommended to consult a healthcare professional before using either.