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I hold a lot of tension in my body, which compounds tenfold when it’s cold outside. When I first completed Wim Hof’s 20-Day Cold Shower Challenge during a frigid month in 2021, I was amazed to learn I needed to embrace the cold rather than run from it. It sounds counterintuitive, but trust me, I’ve tried it twice and the effects are undeniable. The cold therapy combined with breathwork resulted in a happier, healthier me. While there are countless benefits to his method, here are the top 5 reasons to try living like “The Iceman” Wim Hof.

Better Rest

I’m no scientist, but if stress levels are impacting your quality of sleep, plunging into icy temperatures — whether an ice bath, frigid shower or frozen lake — could be the answer. After all, cold exposure has been proven to raise adrenaline and lower cortisol levels. Ending your shower with 30 seconds of icy water (while focusing on your breath!) is an easy way to manage stress.

Improved Flexibility

I can confirm that holding tension in your body over time can reduce flexibility. Practicing deep breathing during yoga or stretching is one of the best ways to boost mobility as it encourages a deeper connection to the body. By focusing on my breath, I’ve been able to access new levels of physical maneuverability that I’ve struggled to obtain my whole life.

Lower Stress

When there’s a lot of cortisol surging through your bloodstream, it’s easy to feel out of control. Putting yourself in situations with intentional stress trains your brain and body to handle it more effectively. Practicing techniques from the Wim Hof Method helps build mental strength to deal with day-to-day challenges with ease.

Increased Focus

Hof’s deep breathing exercises help to improve blood flow, which in turn can boost focus. Every morning after practicing three rounds of breathwork, I’ve experienced an increase in clarity that lasts all day.

Strengthen Immunity

Now, I’m only an enthusiast and not a medical expert, but it’s been proven that maintaining lower stress levels and taking care of your body and mind can help ward off common illnesses. I learned from The Wim Hof Method: Activate Your Full Human Potential that Hof once injected himself with endotoxin (under the supervision of medical professionals, of course) and was able to fend off infection on his own through breathwork and strength of mind.

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