Running stark naked into the ocean in winter might seem loopy. But a new Scandinavian study (where else?) found that cold-water immersion followed by hot sauna recovery can give you an advantage when it comes to losing weight.
In the study, researchers monitored the vitals of a group of young men who had spent at least two years swimming twice a week in cold water and compared them with a non-swimming control group.
They found those who regularly swam then sat in a sauna burned more calories via brown fat (the type that keeps you warm). In short: Cold-water immersion followed by hot sauna bouts can increase energy expenditure and promote weight loss.
If you’re thinking of taking the polar bear plunge this year, consider these tips:
- Get naked: Less is more when it comes to clothing. It may keep you toasty on land, but as soon as garments become wet, they cling to skin, making water feel even colder.
- Plug your ears: If you’re prone to “ice cream headaches,” use earplugs to keep freezing water from entering your ear canal.
- Skip the shot of whiskey: Booze lowers your body temperature, making cold water tougher to handle.
- Practice: Sit in ice baths or take a cold shower for 2-3 minutes in the weeks leading up to the plunge.
- See your doc: If you have heart issues, check with your physician first, as cold water can cause a spike in heart rate and blood pressure.
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