Does jumping into an ice bath for no reason make you cringe? How about jumping into an ice bath to burn fat? Would that be a little more tempting?
I'm sure that the thought of the cold temperature is not be appealing, but the cold temperature is an effective and easy way to burn fat. If that is your goal, then consider adding ice baths to your fat-burning routine.
Ice Bath Therapy for Weight Loss
Cold exposure is proven to work for weight loss. In one study, participants burned over 376% more fat when they were exposed to cold temperatures over a period of time.
Yes, that was a controlled experiment. However, NASA scientist Ray Cronise lost 300% more weight per week once he started adding cold exposure to his weight loss routine.
Ray Cronise Talks About Cold Exposure
Want to Try an Ice Bath?
A popular way to experience cold exposure is to take an ice bath. How does an ice bath work to burn fat? Well, simply put, when you take an ice bath, it makes your body cold. Because your core body temperature quickly drops, your metabolism has to speed up to warm your body. To do this, your body uses reserved energy, or fat.
If you live in a cold climate, you can take a walk outside with a t-shirt and jeans to bring your body temperature down and force your body to bring the temperature back up. However, your neighbors may start to worry about you. When you take an ice bath, you can easily get out the moment you want to.
Moreover, exposing yourself to cold water, as opposed to cold air, is considered more effective. Water is 24 times more thermally conductive than air. When something is of high thermal conductivity, heat transfer occurs at a higher rate than it does at low thermal conductivity.
In short, cold exposure is effective at burning calories. You will lose fat much more quickly than with exercise and good nutrition alone. Adding ice baths to an effective weight loss program should produce three to four times better results.
It is important to note that some people simply cannot stand ice-cold temperatures. If this is you, then try to incorporate cold exposure in another way. For instance, get outside and take off a layer of clothing. It may be a little uncomfortable at first, but the long-term benefits are well-worth a short period of discomfort. As an added bonus, when you are exercise in the cold you will burn more calories because your body is trying to stay warm.
Other Benefits of an Ice Bath
Beyond helping you lose fat, ice-cold temperatures have other benefits. Many athletes who work out very hard take an ice bath to relieve muscle soreness and reduce inflammation.
Other noted benefits of cold exposure are:
Improved circulation: This is because the blood moves towards the organs to keep them warm and then back to the skin when the body warms up again.
Better hair and skin: Hot water can dry out your body and hair. Replacing hot water with cold can help to reduce excessive dryness.
Stronger immunity: Studies have shown that white blood cells increase when exposed to daily cold water.
Increased fertility: If you are trying to get pregnant, then this is great news. It has been shown that hot baths make you more infertile.
More energy: Ever feel like going back to bed after a nice warm shower? Try a cold one. You will be awake instantly, with more energy for your day.
How to Incorporate Ice Baths into Your Routine
While there is no set number of baths or amount of time to optimize the benefits, one expert recommends three, ten-minute ice baths every week. Any more exposure could be harmful.
Remember, you just want to make your body work harder for a short period of time. If you start to feel any symptoms of hypothermia—difficulty speaking, thinking, or moving—then you have been for too long and need to get out. Ideally, you should get out long before that level of discomfort.
Work up to taking an ice bath. Start with a cold shower or by leaving ice packs on your body to build tolerance.
Take The Poll
What Do You Think About Cold Exposure And Ice Baths?
Mels on February 07, 2016:
I've started taking ice baths since I first heard the name wim Hof! The baths get easier and now I'm up to 30 mins 3-4 times per week I even crave them not only have a lost weight but I feel amazing afterwards even my 5 and 7 year olds love them (only stay in a few minutes).
So thank you Ray your research and study is brilliant.
And people don't be too hard on yourself I hated the cold before this only holidaying to hot destinations but when you control your breathing and use meditation it really works and knowing the benefits who wouldn't jump into an ice bath!
Kari (author) on October 13, 2015:
@Carolyn - I have hypothyroidism too. I feel your pain!
Carolyn on October 13, 2015:
Desperate hypothyroid looking for any boost to my metabolism.
How about an hours in a cold 72 degree pool treading water?
If anything. It reduces inflammation
Kari (author) on August 26, 2014:
My husband cannot stand cold water, so he and you are pretty much the same. I've been in cold water before, and it is definitely very shocking to the system.
CrisSp from Sky Is The Limit Adventure on August 26, 2014:
I never knew until I landed here. Fascinating! Not sure if I could actually do it. I hate cold. I don't even drink cold water although I rinse my hair with cold water as my finale in the shower and that's my last few seconds in the water. :) Yes, it does help keep the luster.
I do the same on my face when I wash it just because hot water makes my face very dry.
Kari (author) on August 19, 2014:
Very interesting ologsinquito!
ologsinquito from USA on August 19, 2014:
I bet an ice bath would be very good for you. The father of naturopathy, a priest named Father Sebastian Kneipp, cured himself of tuberculosis by bathing in an icy river. Voted up and shared.
Kari (author) on March 21, 2014:
@MsDora - Yeah I don't think there's too many people are going to jump into a bath full of ice.
Having cold showers may be a different story. But my husband can't breathe when the water gets too cold, so I'm assuming a lot of people wouldn't be able to do that too.
When I was in junior high, and I was on the bus riding to school, one of my biggest memories was a kid talking about taking a cold shower in the morning to wake up. Coldwater definitely has its place for some things.
Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on March 21, 2014:
I can make sense of the cold temperatures energizing the metabolism, but the ice bath seems scary--too drastic for most people. Still,some might try it; there's always something new to learn. Thank you.
Kari (author) on March 20, 2014:
Hey Alpha, I linked to the study I found after I mentioned that it was proven. I agree, it is uncomfortable, but there are people doing it! I have read lots about sweating out calories, drinking cold/hot liquids, etc. so I thought this was an interesting thing to check out and write about.
Kevin W from Texas on March 20, 2014:
Interesting read Relationshipc, as I am very familiar with Ray Cronise's study, which is a theory and has no factual basis, so I'd be careful in using the word "proven". Sitting in ice cold water to alter body temperature/increase metabolism would be very uncomfortable for anyone, regardless of being able to control the length of time your submerged. Why not just have good eating habits and exercise?