Sitting in a sauna, steam room, ice cold tub of water, jumping in the snow in your underwear, or having a morning cold shower; there are many ways to experience extremely hot and extremely cold temperatures. Most people find the extreme heat part, like saunas and steam rooms, relaxing, but the extremely cold experiences aren’t as much fun. However, the physical and mental benefits of experiencing these temperature variations are vast and profoundly effective.
Extreme Heat Benefits
“Holy sh*t it’s hot in here.” If you have ever experienced this feeling while sitting in a sauna (infrared sauna being the smarter choice) or steam room, you definitely know the feeling of extreme heat. Other than making our muscles feel loose, there are many other benefits you may not know of, such as;
- Heart health and longevity
- Detoxification of harmful chemicals and heavy metals
- Athletic recovery for pros and joes
- Arthritic and muscular pain relief
- Muscle gain and fat loss
- Immune system boost
- Skin rejuvenation
- Improved sleep
- Increased cardiovascular performance
- Increased stress resilience
- Reduce Dementia and Alzheimer’s
Extreme Cold Benefits
Also referred to as ‘cold thermogenesis’, experiencing extreme cold may not look as fun and sexy but it definitely packs as much of a punch, if not more, as extreme heat. The benefits are as follows;
- BAT (brown adipose tissue) activation
- Enhanced immune system
- Increased cell longevity
- Endothelial nitric oxide regulation
- Higher metabolism
- Lower blood sugar
After looking through pages and pages of articles and studies on whether or not these benefits are true, I’d like to say that most of them are. However, they are not a one stop shop for fixing your problems.
The benefits (other than #11 for extreme heat) that are listed are sourced from a book by Ben Greenfield, called Beyond Training: Mastering Endurance, Health and Life (I am thoroughly enjoying it). Ben references many scientific sources in his book that support his claims. Also, the guy is a health nut. So I highly recommend checking out his site – BenGreenfieldFitness.com.
If you aren’t incorporating a little extreme heat or cold into your life, perhaps it is time to start? Start with what you have available to you (like a cold shower, 2-5 min.) and if you have the means, go to or get an infrared sauna. I highly recommend picking one up, it is so choice.