Last updated on November 22nd, 2023 at 07:04 am
When you read about the benefits of ice baths (aka cold plunge or cold therapy), you typically read about reduced inflammation, reduced stress and anxiety, increased alertness and other physiological effects.
However there are two benefits of ice baths that, in our opinion, get glossed over the most despite being among the most impactful. They are similar in nature but we feel it's appropriate to separate them into two different benefits and we'll explain why.
I’ll introduce you to these two benefits and why I think they’re so important, for you to add to your list of why you should be using ice baths (as if that list isn’t long enough already).
Overlooked Benefits of Ice Baths #1: The Power of Discipline
Everyone on this planet understands (or should understand) that impact that discipline has over the quality of your life and achieving your goals. The cold plunge is among the most rugged avenues someone can test the strength of their discipline.
By definition, discipline is the ability to control one's behavior, actions, and emotions to achieve specific goals or objectives.
It's the overarching skill that everyone needs to achieve a desired result in their personal life, professional life and socia life.
In personal life, discipline helps individuals maintain a healthy lifestyle, such as exercising regularly, eating a balanced diet, and getting enough sleep. It also helps individuals manage their time efficiently, allowing them to accomplish more tasks and achieve their goals. Additionally, discipline helps individuals cultivate positive habits, such as reading, writing, and practicing mindfulness.
In professional life, discipline helps individuals maintain a high level of productivity, work efficiently, and meet deadlines. It also helps individuals improve their skills and knowledge by continuously learning and seeking self-improvement opportunities.
In social life, discipline helps individuals build strong relationships by being reliable, trustworthy, and respectful. It also helps individuals manage their emotions, avoiding conflicts, and resolving issues in a peaceful and constructive way.
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How Does an Ice Bath Impact Discipline?
There's not one person on this planet that looks forward to getting in that freezing cold water (if someone says they do then they're lying to themselves. It sucks. It's hard.
But that's exactly what makes it so great!
If you can overpower all the voices in your head feeding you reasons why you shouldn't get in the water and take that step in, you're proving that you have control over your mind, body and life, not vice versa.
Overlooked Benefits of Ice Baths #2: Overcoming a Challenge
Overcoming a challenge can have several neurobiological benefits for an individual. One of the main benefits is that it can activate the reward circuitry in the brain. This release of dopamine can create a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment, which can lead to a positive mood and increased self-esteem.
Another benefit of overcoming a challenge is that it can stimulate the growth and strengthening of neural connections in the brain. When an individual is faced with a challenge, they must engage in problem-solving, critical thinking, and decision-making, which can activate and strengthen the neural pathways associated with these cognitive processes. This increased neural connectivity can improve cognitive functioning and memory, allowing individuals to better tackle future challenges.
Overcoming a challenge can also lead to the development of resilience and the ability to cope with stress. When individuals face and overcome challenges, they develop a sense of self-efficacy and confidence in their abilities to handle difficult situations. This increased self-efficacy can help individuals cope better with stress and adversity in the future, leading to improved mental and physical health.
Joe Rogan is a very large advocate for the ice bath very a variety of different reasons, including the popular ones like decreased inflammation and heightened mood. Here's Joe discussing the benefits he receives while taking a plunge in his Morozko Forge ice bath:
But the thing that Joe talks about the most is the benefit of doing something you don't want to do. In his words, "embracing the suck" and "conquering your inner b*itch".
He understands that the benefits extend beyond physical and have the potential to really change your life.
In conclusion, accompanying the extensive list of physical and mental benefits that cold therapy has on us as humans, the ability to enforce discipline over yourself and the accomplishment of overcoming a difficult challenge are among the most important that are hard to measure.
It hits everyone different, which is what makes it so great.
Show yourself that you're in control of your mind and body and not at the mercy of it.