I Did A Freezing Cold Plunge In The Pacific Ocean For Two Weeks & I Have Some Thoughts
I could feel some benefits right away! 🥶
Cold plunges have been shown to have a range of positive health effects, including helping improve your sleep, reducing inflammation, increasing circulation, and even improving your mood too. The catch? It's cold AF!
I first found the trend from following my favourite YouTubers, Yes Theory, who did a video with Wim Hof — also known as the "Iceman."
Unsurprisingly, Wim Hof teaches cold exposure therapy along with a specific breathing method. His intense activities, like swimming under layers of ice in the ocean, have caught the attention of many around the world.
Since I live super close to the ocean in Vancouver, I couldn't resist trying the trend. So for two weeks in a row, I jumped into the freezing cold Pacific Ocean, in the early winter.
Vancouver might not get much snow, but the ocean felt just as cold as anywhere else in Canada — which is very cold.
For the first week, my boyfriend and I ventured to Jericho Beach with our friend — who we somehow convinced to join us. We had one other person come with us too, but they stayed safely on the beach taking photos.
It was a chilly day, that kind of wet cold that stays deep in your bones. That's Vancouver for you though.
For some reason, I was convinced that if it was cold outside the water would be less of a shock to the body. I was sadly wrong.
We stripped down to our swimsuits and ran straight into the ocean. It's one of those things that you can't think too long about, you just have to close your eyes and do it or you'll chicken out.
You also can't go slowly, because once the icy water hits your toes you'll want to run back out fast.
We were committed to our little adventure though, all running fully in, dunking under, and doing the fastest version of a swim possible.
You feel the breath get knocked out of you (as you can see from my face in the photo below), but once you dunk your whole body under, you kind of just go numb.
After running back onto the beach, you feel electric. The salty ocean water is on your skin and even though you feel cold, it feels amazing. My body was tingling, and I almost felt like I had drunk five cups of coffee because it totally woke me up.
By the time I slipped into my warm clothes and got back into the car, I was in an amazing mood. My friends and I raved about how much it changed our energy levels and just how good we felt the whole way home.
Fast forward two hours, I was passed out on the sofa with Succession playing in the background. The thing about shocking your body like that is that you will probably crash after the rush of energy.
I slept like a baby though, my body exhausted from warming back up.
Just like that, I was convinced!
After the first time was such a success, I was ready to try the cold plunge yet again. This time though, I decided to head to Wreck Beach. This beach is my favourite in the area, and the perfect spot to watch the sunset from.
The only thing is that there is a lot (like A LOT) of stairs leading down to the beach that you need to take. This meant that post-ocean dip we were going to have to climb multiple flights of stairs before reaching the warmth of the car.
I was up for the challenge though, and yet again recruited my boyfriend and a friend to come along for the ride.
We got to Wreck Beach just as the sun was starting to go down, and the water was completely calm. Where the cold plunge got my adrenaline pumping, the scenery was incredibly relaxing.
Yet again we got into our swimsuits and jumped in.
Somehow, just a week later, the ocean felt way colder. Possibly my theory about doing it in colder weather was correct?
At first, I felt like I couldn't breathe, but I remembered what Wim Hof preached and forced myself to take long inhales — and it worked!
Not only did we stay in longer, but we also went back in for a second round after getting out!
After the frosty dip, we sat and watched the sunset, trying to let our bodies naturally warm back up instead of hopping right into a car.
Finally, we made our way back up the stairs, with that same euphoric feeling as the week before.
Will I do this every day? Probably not.
But at least once a month this winter I think you'll find me at the beach, heading into the chilly waves.
I was surprised how quickly I felt the benefits of the cold plunge, and am definitely curious what the long-term impacts would be like.
If you're brave enough to take on the challenge, I recommend it!
The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Narcity Media.
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