Cold Plunging Guidelines

Pointers on how to safely and effectively cold plunge.

#1 Start Gradually

If you are new to cold plunging, start with shorter durations and lower water temperatures. Allow your body to adjust gradually to the cold water.

#2 Find the Right Temperature

The water temperature should be cold but not painfully freezing. Aim for temperatures around 50 to 59 degrees Fahrenheit (10 to 15 degrees Celsius) for beginners. Adjust the temperature based on your comfort level and tolerance.

#3 Prepare Yourself

Before entering the cold water, mentally prepare yourself for the experience by visualizing how you will enter the water and how you want to feel. Take a few deep breaths to help relax your body and mind.

#4 Control your Breathing

As the initial shock of the cold affects your system, your breath becomes your primary anchor. Maintain controlled breathing during the plunge. Take slow, deep breaths to help your body adapt to the cold and reduce the shock.
A beneficial aim is to achieve a breathing rate of 5-8 breaths per minute, which activates the parasympathetic nervous system (responsible for rest and digestion), promoting relaxation in both your body and mind.

#5 Monitor Your Time

Start with short durations, such as 2-3 minutes, and slowly increase the time as you become more comfortable with the cold. For those new to cold water immersion, it typically takes approximately three minutes before shivering begins to set in.
A common mistake among beginners in cold plunging is not immersing themselves enough to cover the upper part of the neck. To maximize the benefits, including anti-inflammatory response and mood enhancement, it’s important to be in the water sufficiently so that the upper part of the neck is fully submerged. This action will more effectively activate the vagus nerve, leading to a more comprehensive hormonal response.
You can also try immersing your head completely under the water. This transmits a powerful signal to your system that will accelerate the body’s warming regulation, making the cold more tolerable and manageable.
It’s also important to balance cold water immersion with other wellness practices, such as rest, proper nutrition, and mobility work, to experience its full benefits.