ice bath

  • Some people think that along with diet and exercise, we may need to expose ourselves to extreme environmental conditions to achieve our full potential.
  • Some research suggests that doing this and practicing conscious breathing techniques could have some health benefits.
  • You can try these techniques fairly easily on your own.

A growing movement in fitness suggests people shouldn’t surround themselves with comfortable environments all the time.

Living in a constantly pleasant 72-degree bubble avoids the environmental stress that might help push our bodies to their full potential. When suddenly exposed to changes in temperature and altitude, the physical reactions that our bodies undergo may exercise important and often-neglected components of our physiology.

That’s the theory promoted by Dutch fitness guru Wim Hof, who goes by the nickname “Iceman.” Hof’s recommendations include exposing yourself to icy water and practicing specific breathing techniques. Some evidence indicates that regimen could provide measurable health benefits including better fat-burning capabilities, weight loss, an improved immune system, and the ability to counteract some effects of Type 2 diabetes.

Journalist and anthropologist Scott Carney tried Hof’s training regimen and described his experience in a book titled “What Doesn’t Kill Us: How Freezing Water, Extreme Altitude, and Environmental Conditioning Will Renew Our Lost Evolutionary Strength,” which was published last year. Carney wound up with impressive results: Tests at the University of Colorado Sports Medicine and Performance Center showed that his metabolism switched from primarily burning carbohydrates to burning more fat. The CU athletic performance experts said that feat was equal to adding about seven hours of cardio exercise per week.

This is anecdotal evidence based on one person, not a controlled scientific trial, so it’s possible that Carney’s body responded more dramatically than another’s might. But the book has nonetheless inspired to give Jof’s method a Read More Here