How Long Should You Cold Plunge?

Cold plunging has surged in popularity in recent years due to the numerous health benefits. However, prolonged exposure may lead to potential harm.

So, how long should you cold plunge?

How Long to Cold Plunge?

How Long Should You Cold Plunge?

For anybody who has ever tried cold plunging before, you know just how uncomfortable that immediate sensation can be, and in some cases even painful.

However, you won't believe what your body can actually do, and with repeated exposure, you will get used to it. It may call for you to sacrifice your comfort, but the benefits can be worth it.

Cold is a massive stressor to your body, and if you manage to learn how to control your body's response to the cold, you'll be better able to control stress across the board, no matter where it occurs in your life. The more cold plunging you do, the better the payoffs will be in the long run.

Of course, there is only so much your body can take before it begins to shut down, so there is a limit to how long you can cold plunge.

Generally speaking, the recommended time is three minutes. Sure, you might be able to last longer with practice, but as a beginner, you might not even be able to take more than 30 seconds. You may need to build up your tolerance to the cold in increments of a few seconds at a time, or even just by taking cold showers.

Related: How cold should a cold plunge be?


How to Prepare for a Cold Plunge

How Long Should You Cold Plunge?

Taking a cold plunge is certainly not for the faint of heart, but there are some things you can do to adequately prepare yourself for this adventure. Here are some tips to follow to make taking the cold plunge just a little bit easier.

  • Half the battle with a cold plunge is mental. So, you should visualize exactly how you'll get into the water, what you'll feel, and how you will react. The better prepared mentally you are, the better your body will be able to handle the cold.
  • Calmly but confidently get in the water, but don't take too long. If you take far too long, you'll give yourself the chance to turn around and get back out before you manage to go through with it.
  • As you get in the water, your nervous system might go into a slight shock, and it could make breathing a little difficult. Just remember to take extremely deep breaths and to remain calm, as this will calm down both your nervous system and your brain.
  • As you're in the water, let your breath slow down and deepen as much as you can. This sends a signal to your brain that you're okay and that you're not fighting for your life. It's about training your body not to go into the fight or flight mode.
  • Beware that once you first get into the water, you might hyperventilate a little bit, which means that you'll breathe really quickly. It's an involuntary response to the cold, but as your body adjusts to that temperature, you'll relax and start breathing normally.
  • Try to focus on something other than the cold. The first minute will be the most difficult, but your body will eventually adjust. If you can, just try to focus on your breathing.

Related: What are the benefits of cold plunging?

Tips to Cold Plunge Properly

How Long Should You Cold Plunge?

One mistake that a lot of people make when cold plunging is not submerging their entire body. To reap the biggest benefits of cold plunging, you want to submerge your entire body, and if you can, even your head. 

If you expose the thyroid and the back of your neck to the extreme cold, it causes your body to release a variety of hormones, which helps to provide you with a variety of benefits.

After you've taken your cold plunge, you need to warm up. If possible, wear a thick robe or even take a warm shower. 

Many people also do the cold plunge after going into a sauna, and if you are doing a circuit, make sure to rest after the cold plunge. Don't plunge and then immediately go back into the sauna, as the shock can be harmful to your body.


Rounding Up

How Long Should You Cold Plunge?

The bottom line is that if you are taking a cold plunge, you might start off with as little as 30 seconds, but the goal is to build your way up to at least three minutes, and more if possible.

Author's Photo

William Parrett

Will, co-founder of Home Gym Supply, launched the company in 2019 after 15-years in the fitness industry. His expertise stems not only from his professional background but also from his athletic pursuits. A former competitor in the World Beauty Fitness & Fashion (WBFF) and a competitive rugby player, Will has always been dedicated to health and fitness.