>Health and Nutrition>Ideal cold plunge temperature/duration
Overweight per CDC BMI
From October thru April, I use the cold water in my swimming pool for recovery by standing in the shallow end with the water up to my waist for 8-15 minutes. I know that standing in water which is below 40F is very uncomfortable and I can only last 2-3 minutes, which would be minimal recovery benefit compared to the pain and numbness associated. The pool is currently 45 and I was just able to tolerate 10-11 minutes. My tap water is currently 58 so definitely not cold enough to just use the bath tub.
Does anyone have any science behind the ideal temp for muscle recovery for a cold plunge? I would assume that spending 15 minutes in the coldish water is better than water so cold that I can only stand it for 5 minutes. Should I try to get the water up to 50 to enable me to tolerate it for 15+ minutes or leave it at 45 and just try to tolerate it longer? What about 55 for 20-25 minutes?
Also, I am always wearing at least a jacket and the cold water doesn't come above my waist so I am not worried about hypothermia. I know a true cold plunge is full body but I am not interested in that.
Memphis / 37 male
5k - 20:39 / 10k - 43:48 / Half - 1:36:58 / Full - 3:38:10
I've never seen any science to support cold baths for recovery so it's probably just a matter of personal preference how cold and how long you want to stay in.
3 minutes is actually a good period to feel the effects of recovery post exercise.
And 40-45F is ideal. So looks like you're doing pretty goos as is.
The amount of time recommended for cold water plunge depends on your level of cold water immersion experience and your personel tolerance to cold temperatures.
If you're a beginner you need to start very slow. Things can go wrong very quickly.
And there are some serious potential adverse health effects - cold water shock.
The general rule is to start with a period of no longer than 30 seconds - if you're an absolute beginner.
10 seconds works well, just to see how your body reacts.
Experienced users tend to plunge for 1 to 3 minutes.
This helps maximize the effects of the cold water experience.
There's a good post on it over here - cold plunge time
But, looks like you're already plunging with good times and temps.
You should be feeling the effects with the routine you've already established.
It turns out that mother nature is going to win this discussion as we are supposed to get a couple weeks of very cold weather and I will be running a little pump in the pool just to try to keep it from icing over. I guess the tap water in the bath tub with 8-10 lbs of ice will work until the weather warms up. I am not actually using a heater in the pool but just some simple things to keep it a little warmer so I can target an ideal temp but not actually control it.
I am thinking I should be trying to keep the water to around 49-52F because it will be more bearable. My wife has been doing Orange Theory a lot lately and I tried to get her to stand in the pool for her sore legs. She wouldn't even get in with the water at her knees for more than 5 seconds when the water was 45 so I want to get it warmer for her, even if I can stand the colder water.
Hey Andy, did you get the water up to 49-52?
And have you noticed much of a difference?
Is it noticeably more comfortable?
I got the temp up to 53F after we had warm weather with rain all last week. The week prior, we got snow with artic temps and some areas of the pool had ice 4 inches thick. I got in with the temp at 53 and stood in there for about 12 minutes and it didn't quite seem cold enough. I think the target of 49-50 is going to be best for me to spend 10-12 minutes in the pool without making myself miserable. No clue if I will be able to get my wife to stand in the pool with the temp below 60. Usually my mid April, I stop trying to keep it cold and start warming it up as much as possible. I then have to switch to stocking up on ice and doing a cold plunge in the bath tub.
I also get very cold feet in winter and can have my feet be numb for an hour after getting out of the cold pool without putting them in hot water. Since my feet will always be the part in the water the longest, I started just getting in the pool while wearing my socks and shoes. My shoes normally have mud on them in winter so they get cleaned off at the same time and I have like 14 pairs in my rotation so no issues with them taking a couple days to dry out.
Cold plunge isn't for recovery...
I think they say... is it 10 or 20 mins a week for maximum health benefits.
300m- 37 sec.