How to get the most out of deliberate cold exposure

How to get the most out of deliberate cold exposure

Deliberate cold exposure, also known as DCE for short, is the intentional practice of cold water immersion (CWI). CWI is a form of cold water therapy where people immerse themselves in water at cold temperatures, for example, cold showers, ice baths or swimming in the cold sea.  

From making you happier to burning fat, there’s heaps of benefits to cold water immersion. As the cold is a hormetic stressor, the benefits are realised through revisiting the stressor and training your body to respond to it. 

Andrew Huberman explains on his podcast ‘Using Deliberate Cold Exposure for Health and Performance’ that “deliberate exposure is an opportunity to deliberately stress our bodies, and yet, because it’s deliberate and because we can take certain steps. We can learn to maintain calm while our body is in a state of stress – and that can be immensely useful when encountering stressors in other parts of life.”

How can you maximise the benefits of deliberate cold exposure (DCE)?

Unfortunately the odd ice bath, wild swim or cold shower just isn’t enough. To get the maximum benefits from deliberate cold exposure you’ve got to show up daily. Make a routine that works for you and do your best to stick to it. Whether that be first thing in the morning, after a workout or right before bed, play with it and see how it works for you. Repetition is where the scientific backed evidence is so you need to find a way to make it work in your daily routine. It gets easier the more you practice and the benefits are delivered by the heaps. 

“The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine.”

– Mike Murdock.

One lesser known way to maximise benefits and to increase resilience is to continuously move your body while in cold water immersion. When submerged in cold water, your body generates heat, creating a warm barrier that surrounds your body and insulating you from the cold. This means that staying still would mean your body is actually warmer than if you were to move around. As you move the thermal layer around your body breaks, making it even colder and causing the release of even more adrenaline. Adrenaline is one of the primary stimulus for the positive effects of deliberate cold exposure, so the more of this the better!

Find a way you can practice cold exposure daily and once you’ve got your routine nailed, try moving your body to test your resilience and maximise the benefits that deliberate cold exposure brings.