It's that time of year - everyone runs from their car to their home covered in coats, jackets, gloves, and boots.
All in an effort to maintain a constant state of homeostasis through constant warmth & comfort.
What if I told you that exposing yourself to the cold isn't a bad thing, but actually is pretty good for vital systems in your body?
I practice cold weather & water exposure daily, and let me tell you, the hype is real. But it's not just a "feel good" thing to; there is science to back it up.
Let me break it down the benefits for you:
It Starts With Your Antifragility
"Antifragility is a property of systems that increase in capability, resilience, or robustness as a result of stressors, shocks, volatility, noise, mistakes, faults, attacks, or failures." - Professor Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of Antifragile
Exposing yourself to the cold shocks your body into immediate stress mode. But this is not a bad thing; there are two types of stress.
1) Acute Stress: This is stress that comes and doesn't go, such as stress from money or work. This makes us weaker.
2) Fight or Flight Stress: This is when for example a bear attacks you; it is a short burst of adrenaline that leaves once the danger is gone. This is also the stress that is felt when being exposed to the cold; it engages your autonomic nervous system.
Regularly engaging your autonomic nervous system disrupts our homeostasis and comfort zone to develop strength, happiness, and health, thus building our antifragility.
When you voluntarily & regularly expose yourself to disruptions such as cold exposure, you will be better prepared for when unexpected disruptions arise in other areas of your life.
Our physiology does not want to be comfortable. These deep, primal systems need to be regularly engaged in order to stay strong and healthy.
Other side effects of cold exposure include:
Improving the immune system
Strengthening willpower & memory
Working the blood vessels which results in improved cardiac function
Free shot of adrenaline
Jump-starts the metabolism
Relief of inflammation which leads to pain relief
I learned all of this information from Wim Hof, more commonly known as the Ice Man. He is a true wealth of knowledge, I strongly recommend you check him out when you get some time.
In the meantime, stay warm after exposing yourself to the cold!
Author / Ice Man / Plant-Based Wildman