5 easy steps to cold water immersion for beginners

5 easy steps to cold water immersion for beginners

Getting into cold water is no walk in the park. So when things seem mentally tough, we find it best to keep things simple. And it doesn’t get more simple than our 5 steps for newbies to the cold.

  1. No ice baths at first.
    Just as you don’t walk into a gym and attempt to bench press 200lbs for fun. Walk before you run.

  2. Keep it fun.
    We’re not training to summit Everest, it’s just cold-water therapy to unlock some health benefits so don’t take it or yourself too seriously. Smile and keep it playful there is nothing serious about this if we are safe, though you’ll enjoy some serious benefits.

  3. Start with 30 seconds in a cold shower.
    Build up quickly over a week to 1-2 minutes, you’ll be amazed how fast you adapt. The aim in a cold shower is to stay in until your breath is under control. Then aim to stay in until it no longer feels cold, at this point you’ve nailed the cold shower.

  4. Time.
    Aim to get cold 4-7 days a week, ideally 7, but no forcing if a day off feels important. Even 4 days per week (every other day) for just a few minutes is going to render adaptation and great benefits.

  5. Temperature: Introducing CWI steadily
  • Cold baths first (5-10°c). When you can do 3-5 minutes in the shower and feel great with no repercussions (shivering or vascular issues) then get in a cold bath. Cold water is four times stronger than cold air at extracting heat, so start ‘warmer’ over 5°c. Try a minute or two. 
  • When you can do 2-3 minutes in a cold bath, and again feel great with no shivering afterward, try some ice. You’ll feel confident because of your progress. The ice bath is no longer a beast of fear, just a teacher that you respect. Lower those temperatures by 2°c whilst reducing the time (your two levers to play with). Try for a 1 minute ice bath, hands out at first if you wish, then increase over time. • This end-to-end scaling into cold water can be done as fast as feels sensible to you. A week or a month, there’s no rush, and no medal at the end.