Many people on top of their health and fitness look for unique ways to enhance their gains and performance, without the aid of a pill or syringe. Certain activities or techniques, often referred to as “bio hacks”, provide that extra desired boost. One excellent bio hack that has been scientifically studied and widely utilized recently is cold therapy.
Cold therapy is simply exposing the body to cold temperatures in short intervals of time. That can consist of cold showers, ice baths, wearing cold vests, standing or walking outside in cold temperatures, and even short stints inside cryo chambers. Cold therapy has been used by athletes for years following sporting events to help aid in injury recovery, but science has shown that proactive exposure to cold can have positive effects on biological function and health, as well as recovery from injury.
In THIS article, fitness expert Ben Greenfield, talks about the countless benefits of cold exposure, cold thermogenesis, and lists over 30 scientific studies to back the claims. The benefits are petty impressive:
Decrease in body fat
Enhanced immune system
Lower blood sugar
Increased cell longevity
Improved adrenal function
For those who have never heard of or tried implementing cold therapy, starting with a few seconds or minutes of cold water in the shower is a safe and effective way for the body to get acclimated. From there, a progression towards some of the other exposure techniques for a longer period of time can be made (see THIS article by optimal health educator Jack Krouse MD for additional therapies and duration times).
In addition to the physical benefits, mental toughness and psychology can drastically improve with cold therapy. Tony Robbins (along with many other successful entrepreneurs and business people) starts his day off by jumping into a freezing cold body of water. He does this for the psychological shift in his mind that takes place. He knows that by overcoming the mental hurdles associated with the cold state he puts his body in, he will be in complete control of his brain (thoughts and actions) for the remainder of his day. He purposefully steps out of his comfort zone, conditions his brain to obey his conscious commands and improves his mental strength.
Cold therapy is an excellent biohack that can be utilized to improve upon both physical and mental health. It is legal, doesn’t cost money (unless of course you purchase something like a cold vest), and is a natural way to improve overall health.
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