- A new study suggests that ice baths may help burn body fat.
- Cold water exposure also appears to protect against insulin resistance and diabetes.
- However, other health benefits were less clear.
- Experts suggest that you start slowly and do your homework before you begin.
The authors of a new review published in International Journal of Polar Health Say a dip in cold water might be just the thing if you’re looking to reduce the amount of unhealthy body fat.
They explained that exposure to cold water may also reduce the risk of developing conditions such as diabetes. It appears to increase the amount of a hormone called “adiponectin” that is produced by fat tissue. Adiponectin plays an important role in preventing insulin resistance, a condition in which muscle, fat, and liver become less responsive to insulin.
lead author Dr. James MercerSeveral types of beneficial effects of exposure to cold water have been suggested, such as:
- Strengthening the immune system
- Give a natural orgasm
- improve blood circulation
- Increase sexual desire
- burn calories
- reduce stress
- Make new friends
- relieve depression
- jump start metabolism
- Improve cardiovascular health
- Reduce pain and inflammation
“Our investigations show that there is increasing evidence that many of these suggestions may be correct,” Mercer said, “particularly regarding potential protective health effects on the immune system, potential protective effects on the cardiovascular system, prevention of insulin resistance, and improved insulin sensitivity. and mental health.”
However, he noted, the expected effects of giving higher libido, increasing libido and decreasing depression do not appear to be supported by evidence.
Dr. Chris MinsonD., an expert in exercise physiology, women’s health, heart health, and thermoregulation at the University of Oregon as well as a member of the American Physiological Association, notes that one of the main things we should take away from this review is that we still don’t know enough about the potential health benefits of cold water exposure.
However, he noted, some of the stronger evidence revealed by the study suggests that exposure to cold water appears to help regulate blood sugar.
He explained, “This is through improvements in the way insulin works in our bodies, and it has a real potential to help improve diabetes risk, and therefore may also lead to better cardiovascular health.”
Minson further noted that there is more limited evidence that frequent exposure to cold water may reduce the amount of unhealthy fat in the body, possibly by changing it to become more healthy and metabolically active brown adipose tissue.
Regarding how this happens, Minson explained that exposure to cold water creates stress on the body’s physiology in the same way that exercise does.
“If these stresses are repeated over time, and we are able to recover and adapt to the stressors, our physiology will be more resilient, and we may have lower levels of background inflammation (which happens when we are sedentary, eating poorly, or having excess body fat),” Minson said. “.
If you find the idea of cold water exposure interesting, Mercer said his best advice is to first be aware of the potential negative effects and then start gradually, perhaps with other people who already have experience. It is also suggested to read the thread.
Minson noted that exposure to cold water is not easy, and not many people will like it. He suggests that the cold shower challenge is a good way to see how well you can handle it before diving deeper.
“For one week, while taking a daily shower, reduce the water temperature to as low as it will stay with the water still flowing decently for 15 seconds. Stay under the water, including your head, neck and as much of your body as possible. Then turn the water over again to warm yourself.”
Next, start increasing your time under cold water by 15 seconds each week for four weeks.
Minson said you should check it out for yourself after every shower to see how you feel over the next few hours.
People are often in a better mood and seem to have more energy. Others may hate it and not be happy. But this is a good test to see if you might like being exposed to the cold.”
Minson also advised that it’s a good idea to speak with a healthcare professional before you begin, especially if you have had heart disease or a heart attack.
“If the person is healthy and fairly active, it is safe to try this as it is starting an exercise program,” he said.
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