Unless you don’t read any fitness related content you’ve probably seen lots of mention about the benefits of using both heat and cold exposure to assist with recovery, detoxification and to stimulate hormones.

I’m the lucky guy that that takes after my mother’s side and was blessed with a lot of great traits. The one inheritance I wish I hadn’t received was poor circulation in my extremities. The gene theory has been somewhat debunked a bit but what we do know is a lot of us have similar gene expressions as our parents and can experience the same challenges, especially if we have similar, diets, sleep habits, mindset and overall habits.

You might be thinking how does this little sidetrack into genes make sense for a heat and cold exposure article?

As most of us know, our bodies are incredibly resilient but if left in a zone of comfort they can become much less so. We must challenge the edges of our potential to gain more space for resilience to shine.

Yes, the body must be challenged but it’s our minds that help us with endurance, strength, power and recovery. Exposure to both heat and cold can deliver on several fronts as it relates to challenging the mind while also eliciting adaptions that leave us feeling energized, looking healthier and help our bodies function better.

Before I started taking cold dips, cold showers, ice baths, and walking outside with sparse clothing in chilly weather, I was very cold in the winter, and this made snowboarding less pleasurable. My fingers and toes got very cold, really fast but now, it takes more extreme cold at longer exposures to affect me negatively.

With progressive cold exposure we train our bodies to be able to handle the challenges of being cold and it shifts our bodies into thermogenesis. I know it sounds nutty, but, we have to get really, really cold to not feel as cold.

Yep, that’s exactly what I’m saying! The funny thing is upon finishing a protocol of 20 minutes of dry heat in a sauna and then 3-5 minutes of cold water/ice exposure, for two rounds of each, you are left feeling energized and clear minded. The sauna is a great space to spend some time meditating and studies show infrared saunas lower inflammation and help with detoxification.

And the cold dips bring you into an even deeper sense of focus. You have to use your breath to calm the initial adrenaline hit and relax into the cold. The science says for several hours after cold exposure like this, your dopamine levels raise higher than with sex, cigarettes, and chocolate. Also, the effects last much longer than those other quick hit dopamine triggers.

So, back to the beginning…I mentioned genes earlier because we don’t have to accept the  mindset that we are going to experience everything our parents have and I actually want to challenge you to do everything in your power to stay as healthy as possible. You don’t have to deal with any of those potentially flawed aspects that your health destiny has handed down.

That’s a strong message that is fed to us at a young age and trust me, if you believe it, you’ll find it.  Your mind and ego love to be right, so get focused on walking your own path to health.

If you’re new to heat and cold exposure, you don’t have to go all in with the 20 min of heat and 3-5 of cold exposure-test it out for yourself and ease into it!  Think of your cold and heat exposure sessions as a recovery training.

Assess how you feel afterwards. If you feel good, add it to what we call in Nimble, your “SEVEN DAY A WEEK HOLISTIC TRAINING PROGRAM.”

It’s all about how we show up every day to elevate our health and fitness.  Every aspect of your health is part of your holistic approach to training and integral to who you are.  How well you will function in your last decade is directly linked to how much you challenge ourselves, mentally, physically and spiritually throughout your life.