Henry McKean, about to take on the Ice Bath Challange with Leo Ryan
Rarely do I listen to the radio, I just prefer podcasts, audiobooks and music I like. But every now and again I switch it on and have a listen. Sometimes I get lucky and I hear a segment of radio I love. Hearing the screams of fear from radio-personality Henry McKean blare through my radio that Wednesday afternoon on was even better than listening to my favourite podcaster. 
 
He had just jumped from a 7m high diving board for #ChallengeHenry and was scared out of his skin! This was just day one of #ChallengeHenry, each day Henry was dared by the public to do something out of his comfort zone and relay his experience on Newstalks afternoon segment, ‘The Hard Shoulder’. I couldn’t resist but to offer him my challenge.... 
a 10 minute ice bath for his 10th challenge! If you want to hear the full segment, then check out this link attached here. Challange Henry: Ice Bath 
 
And in honour of Henry’s glory, here’s 3 reasons why you should do an ice bath. 
 
1. An Ice bath is a positive Stress 
As the Anicent Greek Philosohper, Paraclesus, once said “All things are poison, and nothing is without poison, the dosage alone makes it so a thing is not a poison” Essentially a positive stress is the safe side of what Paraclesus spoke about. It is the beneficial response by the body to anything in just the right dose. 
In strength training we apply Paraclesus’ theory as The Training Effect. You improve your strength training lifts by 1% every week, add in enough recovery and your body will bounce back and become stronger. The same can also be applied to The Cold. Gradually increasing your cold exposure through showers, sea swimming, ice baths or cryotherapy and you’re body will become stronger for it! It has massive cardiovascular, mental health, energy and vitality benefits to it. 
 
2. There’s no escape to the Monkey Mind 
Once you’ve decided to step into an ice bath, you’re in it and there’s no escape. The cold hits your body instantaneously. Your skin feels it, your nervous system knows it and your brain wants to run from it! 
 
Because the Ice Bath is such a powerful stimulus and because you can’t escape from it, you just have to focus your body and mind to be present in it. By honing in on the simplest of actions, like your breath, you can begin to relax into it; having said that, you’ve got to keep your attention there until you master this phase of adaptation. There is no space for your mind to runaway with itself; to think of your to do list or what that argument you had earlier today or the meeting you have with your boss next week. All you can do is to just to sit and focus. 
 
3. The Cold is Great for your Health 
Dr. Rhonda Patrick did a super job in summing up the health benefits of Cold Therapy in her 2015 paper titled “Cold Shocking the Body”. In it, she points to the many and varied benefits of Cold Training: 
• Decreased risk and symptoms of depression 
• Improved fat loss 
• Reduced neurodegenerative disease symptoms (like alzheimer’s, parkinson’s and traumatic brain injury) 
• Reduced Inflammatory disease markers (like rheumatoid arthiritis) 
• Improved white blood cells 
• Increased anti-oxidant enzymes which reduces DNA and cellular damage 
• Increased longevity 
• It can even increase recovery from training and improve sports performance. 
 
When you consider all these wonderful benefits, it’s no wonder Henry felt so wonderful as he emerged from the ice. The ice man becometh. He completed the full 10 minutes – fair play to him, that’s hardcore. He is a rare man that’s spent that long in the ice for the first time. I know I didn’t do it for so long and neither should you. If you are going to do an ice bath and reap all these benefits, please be smart about it. Get medical clearance if you’re pregnant, you’ve any cardiovascular or health issues. Start small, start slow and have someone with you to look after you because “The Cold is A Powerful Force” as one of my teachers Wim Hof once said. 
Tagged as: Ice Bath
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