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Are Polar Bear Plunges Good for You?

Cold Water

Story at-a-glance -

  • Polar bear plunges, which involve taking a dip in the ocean in the winter, are said to invigorate and energize, but they can also generate an enormous shock to your system
  • You should be in relatively good shape if you take a polar bear plunge; for those at risk of stroke, aneurysm, blood pressure problems, or heart disease, the extra stress on your body can be especially dangerous, increasing your risk of heart attack
  • Even among healthy people, the adrenaline release that occurs during a polar bear plunge can lead to irregular heart rhythms
  • Cold water and ice baths, otherwise known as cold water immersion or "cryotherapy," is a popular technique among amateur and professional athletes because it is thought to help reduce muscle inflammation and pain after exercise, as well as speed recovery time
  • Exposure to cold temperatures may also help you to activate brown fat, a heat-generating type of fat that burns energy instead of storing it, which may help with weight loss

By Dr. Mercola

The Coney Island Polar Bear Club was founded in 1903 by Bernarr Macfadden, an early advocate of physical fitness and natural foods, who believed immersing yourself in the ocean during the winter was “a boon to one’s stamina, virility and immunity.”


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