The darkness of the pitch black 5:00am morning is not enough to settle my excitement. I am awake and already craving my sunrise swim in the Serpentine. The temperature of the water is a frosty 7°C, and no, that is not a typo. Think I am crazy? Read this post, try it for yourself and you can be the judge.
While coffee is a short-term go-to energy booster, cold-water immersion will be a much more sustainable and beneficial pick-me-up. If you do not have time to hit the pond, lake or ocean in the morning, all you need is a five-minute cold shower and that will do the trick!
Besides the “I feel alive and am so happy” factor — there are a range of scientifically proven health benefits to cold water immersion.
There are several mechanisms that get activated when exposed to cold water that influence fat loss.
Regularly exposing your body to cold water is great exercise for your immune system. Cold increases and enhances activity of immune cells that help fight infection and disease. More specifically, monocyte and lymphocyte activity will be enhanced — these immune cells being instrumental in eliminating bacteria, viruses, and toxins. 
When you take a dip in cold water or jump in a cold shower, the body sees this severe temperature change as a stressor. The physical reaction that occurs as a response teaches the body to adapt to stressors and become stronger over-time as a result — increasing tolerance to any form of stress including mental, emotional and physical stress. 
Over time, cold-water exposure actually improves blood circulation. Since exposure to cold causes blood flow to be redirected to the vital organs, your body is forced to circulate your blood more efficiently, which ultimately improves blood circulation. Improved blood circulation helps your heart, muscles and arteries to function better and increases your vitality.
If you are still not convinced about cold water exposure, think about the amount of money you could save on energy and water bills when swapping your long hot showers with shorter cold ones? Not to mention how you would be contributing to saving the planet at a time when environmental sustainability is such a pressing issue. You will not only feel energized, but you will also feel good about the impact of your choices.
I know you must be excited to try this out, but make sure you advance slowly — whilst cold showers are a great way to kick-start your cold immersions, digging holes in icy lakes in Canada and bathing in them for five minutes is not advisable for the first go, but something you can look forward to when you take your cold water exposure to the next level.
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Uric acid and glutathione levels during short-term whole body cold exposure, van Kuijk FJ, Maass R et al, Free Radic Biol Med. 1994 Mar;16(3):299–305, accessed online on 07/01/2016 at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8063192
Originally published at yourfitworld.com on January 11, 2016.
Originally published at medium.com