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OUTDOOR LIFE

ICE BATHING TIPS

What does it take to regularly sink your body into freezing cold water and ice? Well, it’s certainly not for those who don’t enjoy pushing themselves outside of their comfort zone. Three people who know well both the challenging and exhilarating draw of sinking into cold water, are Irina, Franz and Samuel - a trio of ice bathers from Munich Hot Springs.
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Irina, a 39-year-old digital marketer, Franz, a 36-year-old physical therapist and personal trainer and Samuel, a 36-year-old business development director are all passionate amateur athletes, who fittingly, first met at the gym. For this trio, ice bathing offers an opportunity to take the stress out of their professional lives, relax and stay healthy.

“We still remember the very first time: we went outside and did ice bathing together in the Eisbach in the English Garden, the water was about 10 degrees. It was very challenging and exciting. Over the years we became quite addicted to the cold exposure,” they explain. All three say that they’ve seen an improvement in their bodies too, such as getting ill less often and better cold resistance.

Gaining better awareness of your body, how it feels and what it’s capable of is another benefit, they say. “If you practice ice bathing regularly, you will quickly notice that you are more relaxed and less stressed by a challenging everyday life,” they say. Irina, Franz and Samuel list some of the many advantages of the activity, which includes: strengthening blood vessels, improvement of the cardiovascular system, boosting the immune system, better blood circulation and body temperature regulation, faster sports recovery and a better mood, thanks to the endorphin release. So, if you want to get started, where should you begin?
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Listen to your body:

“First and foremost, you need to be aware that you are putting your body in an extreme situation and not take it lightly. Many things can happen, so ice bathing is recommended only for healthy people. If you have cold symptoms, dizziness, or headaches, you should not get into the cold water. Our advice is to take regular ice baths in autumn to prepare for the low water temperatures in winter. Try it out and see how your body reacts to it.”
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Prepare with cold showers:

“We recommend beginners start with regular cold showers - that is challenging enough at the start as tap water has a temperature of 15 C° degrees. If you take cold showers every day for four weeks, you will slowly develop a tolerance for the cold water. We have also created a four-week ice bathing plan you can find here."
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Build it up gradually:

“Outdoors, it is optimal to start at a water temperature of 10-12°C. The water in winter gets colder every week, so you can train until the water is 2-3°C. Ice bathing once a week is optimal from our point of view, although advanced users can practice more often.
The duration of the ice bath also plays a role. In the beginning we recommend starting with two to four minutes. It is important to listen to your own body and always protect the head. In very cold temperatures we also recommend neoprene socks, because the feeling in the feet can be very unpleasant.”
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Make sure to warm up afterwards:

“After the dip you should try to dry off quickly, get rid of any wet bathing items and put on warm clothes. We recommend a warm pullover, gloves, a winter jacket with a zipper, warm socks and jogging bottoms, so that you can slip them on more easily. Warm tea and moderate exercise also help to warm you up faster.”
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Our recommendations of places to practice ice bathing:

  • Main spot at the Eisbach/Schwabinger Bach in the English Garden - near the surfer wave
  • Isar River Beach
  • Sylvensteinsee, Sebensee, Schwarzsee
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    Contact Munich Hot Springs: