Harry Styles is a bonafide water-baby — frequently spotted in icy-sea spots like Dublin’s Vico Baths ahead of his gigs and shows on tour. The former boy-band member of One Direction has confessed to loving cold-water swims, and just posted a photo of himself submerged in an ice-cold bathtub — fists clenched and everything. Uh — is this what he meant by swimming? If you’re wondering why this Watermelon Sugar singer devotes his time to these chilly plunges in a bathtub, we have intel.
Ice-cold baths are associated with a corsage of benefits: they can bring about clarity, relax your body, reduce inflammation and soreness, improve quality of sleep and focus, regulate your breathing, and speed up metabolism amongst numerous other things. This is referred to as cold-water therapy, and it involves immersing yourself in water with temperatures ranging from 10°C to 15°C.
Not just Styles — many prominent faces of the industry swear by this ritual. Did you know Oprah, Liam Hemsworth, and Lady Gaga are proponents of the practice too? Here are some beauty benefits you can redeem by subscribing to this chilly ritual.
The low temperature of the water triggers your blood vessels to constrict. This reduces blood flow and relieves some of that soreness and pain you feel in your muscles following an intensive work-out. Since Styles is almost always voyaging the world, and most of his concerts function on high-energy moves and choreographies, this post-gig regimen seems like a non-negotiable end to the night.
While studies are yet to ascertain the practice’s impact on your sleep, many adoptees have attested to an improvement in quality of sleep and reported feeling less fatigued overall.
Ice baths are popular for their ability to bring your core body temperature down, and cool your body instantly.
Cold baths can also soothe and cool inflamed and itchy skin. This can relieve discomfort associated with conditions like eczema and psoriasis.
And unlike searing, fiery-hot temperatures, cold-water baths or showers don’t strip your skin of moisture and oils. This reduces dryness and flakiness and reinstates your skin’s suppleness and luminosity.
A couple of reports suggest that those who indulge in cold-water showers have a more resilient immunity, and are 30% less likely to call in sick for work or school.
Well then, how long must an ice bath last? You can start off by spending five minutes in the bathtub — a maximum of ten minutes. Don’t overindulge, and don’t go too cold. Expose your feet and hands to the bath first, instead of jumping right in. See what temperature your body adjusts to. Studies suggest that the benefits of an ice-bath decrease considerably after a few minutes anyway. You can ease yourself in by indulging in a blast of ice-cold water for thirty seconds following your shower — before diving into the tub. Avoid a hot-water bath right after cold-water therapy as a change in blood flow can cause you to pass out.
Remember that you must leverage this ritual’s benefits soon after a workout to relieve pain and aid healing — if you wait for too long, the process has already begun. Just keep these ice-bath tips in mind before taking the plunge.
Yes — certainly. There are risks with ice baths. Since you’re subjecting your body to very cold temperatures, your blood vessels can close. This slows blood flow to the heart and increases resistance. If your heart is working too hard, blood-pressure spikes and a spike can lead to heart attacks even in younger people. This is particularly risky for those with preexisting cardiovascular diseases or high blood pressure. Even those with diabetes should stay away as these conditions render you unable to maintain your core body temperature.
Sometimes — because the water cools your skin so quickly and suddenly, it might contribute to an increase in your breathing. This situation creates a feeling of panic and anxiety.
But if you keep these tips in mind, you’ll find that cold-water immersion helps you breathe better, improve your energy levels, and have a positive impact on your mental health. The benefits are endless — and Harry Styles approves.
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