ice bath cold exposure

365 Days at 36.5 Degrees: When Should I Do the Ice Bath?

Another common question, “When should I do the ice bath?” There are several answers to this. From a physiological standpoint, the benefits of the cold for your system can last up to five days. But, like anything else, true benefits don’t come with this infrequency, so I don’t recommend once every five days. However, the science is the science.

New studies are coming out that suggest our immune system can be strengthened in as few as 10 days by just doing 30 seconds to a minute of cold shower just as you finish your normal shower. This is better than once every five days for sure. But we can’t just stop after 10 days because our body will stop adapting again. So, like anything else, consistency to maintain our gains is a requirement.

Take an Ice Bath In Preparation for What Matters Most

There are many time and frequency answers to the question of when you should do your ice bath. But I would like to offer a different, more practical, life-specific answer. Do your cold exposure in preparation for the things that matter most. What matters most is different for all of us and the importance of these things may vary from the mundane to the dynamic.

For example, I personally get a little cranky as the day comes to an end. This is not unique, I’m sure. However, as I began to take a closer look at this behavior, I started to become aware of how unbecoming and potentially damaging it is to my home environment. This is the last time I will interact with my kids and wife before we go to sleep. What impression am I leaving with them as I hustle my way through “good-nights” because I am so focused on myself and how I feel?  This starts to put an unnecessary stress on the household centered around bedtime. The last time you will speak to the ones you love for the next 7-10 hours. This should be a time of love, gratitude, appreciation, and positive reflection. Not stress, grumpiness, selfishness, and hurry.

The point I’m making is simple. I need to refocus my energy as bedtime approaches so I can leave my family for the night with the very best I have to give mentally, emotionally, and physically. To do this, I simply jump into a ice bath or cold shower for a couple of minutes with the intention of resetting my energy for the final time I will see my family that day. Love, appreciation, patience, and gratitude for a good night’s blessing or anxiety, selfishness, impatience, and grumpiness? You know the answer and now you know how to create the environment that serves the ones you love the most.

Be aware of your energy around important moments in your life, like those with your family, and the energy you create. If your energy is off, have the foresight and discipline to recognize it and do something about it. Get cold, reset, and create the most enviable of environments around the things that matter most to you!

More to follow!

I’ll be posting about this regularly on my Instagram (follow the hashtag #Leader193cold) and I hope to update you weekly here on the blog. You can learn more about how I use cold exposure as a leadership tool in my book The Process, Art, and Science of Leadership. You can also read more about the benefits of cold exposure on leadership here.

Errol Doebler is the founder of Leader 193, a leadership consulting firm. After successful careers as a Navy SEAL Platoon Commander and FBI Special Agent, Errol founded Leader 193 to realize his passion of empowering great leaders and better human beings. Errol provides executive coachingkeynote speaking, and corporate retreats to individuals and teams across the world.

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