With so much new information online, cold water therapy has had its fair share of questions and controversies. In recent times, one of the most searched topics on Google regarding cold therapy is: do ice baths burn fat?
The short answer to that question is YES, cold water therapy does help with weight loss, but there’s more to it than a simple yes.
What Exactly Is Cold Therapy?
To understand how cold therapy works, we must first know what it means. Cold water therapy is the practice of immersing parts of the body or your full body into freezing water. The practice isn’t a new phenomenon; it has existed for millennia and has been used to treat muscle fatigue among other health ailments.
The evolution of technology has, however, made several improvements and modifications to the practice of cold therapy.
What Are the General Benefits of Cold Water Therapy?
With the evolution of cold water therapy, more research has come to light, and it shows that cold therapy is an effective remedy to some chronic diseases and the general well-being of a patient.
Cold water therapy works wonders as an anti-inflammatory and pain reliever. Taking a cold plunge can reduce inflammation and numb muscle soreness, making your post-workout routine less painful while also significantly reducing your recovery time.
Other benefits of cold water therapy include increasing your body’s positive immune response and parasympathetic nervous system stimulation. Ice baths can also be applied as non-pharmaceutical support for patients battling depression, stress, and abnormal mood swings.
Lastly, and perhaps the reason you’re reading this article, is that it helps with weight loss.
Myth or Fact? Do Ice Baths Burn Fat?
While weight loss hinges largely on a change in lifestyle, exercise, and eating better, the way you take a bath has also been scientifically proven to have an impact.
Tim Ferriss, in his book “The 4-Hour Body,” wrote about his discovery of how ice baths can burn calories and keep you trim. He went on to advise his readers who want to lose weight to take ice baths three times a week.
But then you may ask, “how can ice baths make me lose weight?” Without further ado, here are ways in which cold water therapy can cause you to lose weight.
Making the body’s core temperature plummet forces the body to find alternative ways to keep warm. Think of your body as a very intelligent machine. When its temperature declines, it gets to a point where it starts burning up calories to stay warm.
Another study supports this theory as well as gives us another perspective on how effective cold water therapy can be for weight loss. A researcher from the University of Nottingham discovered evidence that shows that cold temperatures affect the fat tissue in our bodies.
Cold water therapy forces stem cells in the body to create brown fat cells instead of white. You want this to happen because brown fat cells are metabolically active and can burn or oxidize the white fat tissues in the body. Your body is also forced to burn up more of its energy reserve (white fat cells), causing you to lose weight.
Taking a cold plunge in an Ice Barrel can activate the brown adipose and muscles in your body. Once activated, Irisin and FGF will be released. These two hormones burn up the white fat tissues resulting in weight loss.
Dr. Paul Lee, an endocrinologist at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, proved that this theory was true. In 2014, Dr. Lee began a study of brown fat tissue at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). During the course of his research, he found that when exposed to cold and exercise, the levels of irisin and FGF were higher.
Specifically, 10-15 minutes of shivering increased the release of this hormone to a level that was identical to what you would get from an hour of moderate exercise.
Dr. Lee also discovered that 50 grams of white fat can store more than 300 kilocalories, and the same amount of brown fat can burn up to about 300 kilocalories per day.
Try an Ice Bath for Weight Loss
Weight loss management can be a challenging journey. It comes with a lot of self-discipline and dedication. Cold water therapy can make things easier. By harnessing the benefits of cold therapy, you won’t just maintain your fitness goals, but you’ll enjoy other benefits as mentioned earlier.
Along with adequate exercise, dietary adjustments, and other lifestyle improvements, adding cold water therapy to the mix will make your weight loss journey more efficient. If you stick to our guidelines on how to use the Ice Barrel, you’re bound to lose weight.
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