You should cold plunge 1-3 times per week. This is the best frequency for maximizing the benefits of cold plunging. The key factors to consider, when determining how often should you cold plunge, are your individual goals, your cold water tolerance levels, and your overall health.
There is no one-size-fits-all all. Below, we cover everything you need to consider so you can figure out the best frequency for you and your individual needs. We also explore how long you should stay in, the best temperature for cold water plunging, and the risks and benefits involved.
Here’s How Often You Should Cold Plunge
Every one of us has an individual tolerance level for cold water. For some, immersing in cold water is a walk in the park. For others, it delivers a powerful shock to the system. And for some, it’s a traumatic experience they would rather avoid. Whichever of these categories you fall into, this article aims to provide you with the information you need to determine how often you should cold plunge.
A cold water plunge involves immersing your whole body in cold water for a brief period. Many people like to go right down and even submerge their heads. It is immensely refreshing and comes with a wide range of potential health benefits, more on this below. But, how often should you do it? How many times per week is best for cold bath plunging?
• 1-3 PLUNGES PER WEEK
Some people have a much higher tolerance for cold than others. And, this means there is no one size fits all. Those of us with higher cold temperature tolerances will be able to enjoy more frequent cold plunges. And, those who are highly sensitive will do better with less frequent sessions.
With this in mind, we suggest new users begin with a single session per week. This allows plenty of time for the body to recover and gives you time to slowly adjust to the new experience. If you feel comfortable doing so, you can gradually work your way up to 2-3 sessions per week. However, you should always allow at least 1 day of no plunging between each session. This allows time for your body to recover and prevents overuse. Below we cover the key points you need to consider when determining how often you should cold plunge.
Factors You Should Consider
To figure out how often you should cold plunge you’ll need to consider a number of factors. These influencers determine the best frequency for you. There is no one hard and fast rule for how many times per week you should immerse in cold water. And, only by considering each of the points below can you determine the best frequency for you.
Individual goals play a significant role in determining how often you should immerse in cold water. Your specific objectives and reasons for cold plunging play a key role in determining the best frequency for you. Are you using cold water for muscle soreness and recovery, overall health and well-being, improved mental health, or experimentation as a new hobby?
• Muscle Soreness & Recovery (3 Plunges / Week)
If you are engaged in an intense training program and want to use cold water plunging to relieve muscle soreness and speed up recovery you should aim for frequent immersions. For best results, target 3 sessions per week.
• Overall Health & Well-Being (2 Plunges / Week)
If your goal is to boost overall health and well-being, you should aim for a moderate frequency. Two dips per week achieves good results. This is a good frequency for experiencing the potential health benefits associated with cold water, such as improved circulation, reduced inflammation, and increased energy.
• Improved Mental Health (1-2 Plunges / Week)
If your goal is to improve your mental health and relieve stress a low to moderate frequency works best. We recommend 1-2 cold water plunges per week. You can vary the frequency based on how your body reacts and the results you achieve. This approach allows you to strike a balance between the mental health benefits of cold exposure and pursuing an enjoyable experience.
• New Hobby & Experimentation (1-3 Plunges / Week)
If you’re taking up cold water immersion as a new hobby, you’re free to experiment with the activity and see what works best for you. The key here is enjoyment and having a pleasurable experience. As a hobby, you should aim for 1-3 plunges each week. It’s a flexible approach and gives you lots of wiggle room to find the best fit for you.
COLD WATER TOLERANCE
What is your level of cold water tolerance? Everyone has a different tolerance level to cold water plunging. Some find it a deeply challenging experience. While others find it relatively easy and adapt to it quickly. Either way, you’ll need to consider your body’s tolerance for cold water and factor this into your weekly routine.
If you are highly sensitive to cold water you should start with just 1 plunge per week. If you have a higher tolerance to the cold temperature you can aim for 2 dips per week and work your way up to 3 if you feel comfortable doing so.
Always start slowly. If you’re new to cold water plunging start with just one plunge per week. This gives your body time to adapt to the new experience. And, allows plenty of time for recovery before the next session. This allows for a comfortable, safe, and gradual acclimatization to the shocking effects of cold water.
INDIVIDUAL HEALTH CONSIDERATIONS
Do you have any underlying health conditions that might impact your ability to safely immerse in cold water? Individuals with heart problems, circulatory disorders, or respiratory issues may not be suitable for cold water plunging. The cold shock of immersion could trigger complications and create unnecessary, dangerous risks. You should carefully consider your overall health before deciding to take a cold plunge.
CONSULT A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
If you have any underlying medical conditions or have any medical concerns you should seek professional medical advice before beginning cold plunging. The activity is not for everybody and a healthcare professional may advise you to avoid cold water for medical reasons. It’s best to err on the side of caution and avoid any unnecessary risks.
Are you new to cold water plunging? If you are a beginner you should start with a low frequency. Once per week is the best start. This allows plenty of time for your body to adapt to the new activity. And, it gives it time to recover in between plunges. If you feel comfortable doing so, you can begin gradually increasing your frequency.
Experienced users are accustomed to cold plunge. Their bodies have acclimatized to the effects of cold water. And, this means they can enjoy more frequent cold water plunges. Experienced users can aim to take a cold dip up to 3 times per week. This gives a day in between sessions to allow the body recover and prevent overexposure to cold temperatures.
ALLOW TIME FOR RECOVERY BETWEEN SESSIONS
Another key issue to consider when determining how often should you cold plunge is the recovery time between sessions. You should allow at least one day between each dip. This prevents overuse and overexposure to the cold elements. A recovery day gives your body the time it needs to adjust to the cold shock it has experienced and get everything back in regular order.
How Long Should You Stay In?
Another key question when it comes to cold plunge is – how long should you stay in? In general, a new user should opt for a brief exposure of just 10-30 seconds. Experienced users can up this to 1-3 minutes. And, long-term expert users can plunge for 3-5 minutes. For more, check out our full guide on How Long Should You Spend in a Cold Plunge?
What’s The Best Cold Plunge Water Temperature
The best temperature for a cold plunge is between 40-60 °F. This is equivalent to 4 -15 °C. If you’re a beginner you should aim for a milder temperature of 50-60 °F. And, experienced cold water plungers can go for a more frigid and refreshing 40-50 °F. For more, check out our full guide on What’s the Best Temperature for a Cold Plunge?
What Are The Benefits and Risks?
What are the pros and cons of cold plunge? How does it affect your body? If you’re considering dipping your toe in the water and becoming a regular cold water plunger, you need to know the potential benefits and risks before you get started. An educated cold water plunge is a safe and beneficial cold plunge, see below. And, or a more comprehensive guide, check out our full article on Is Cold Plunge Good For You?
KEY POTENTIAL BENEFITS
- Workout Recovery
- Ease Muscle Soreness
- Reduce Inflammation
- Boost Circulation
- Cold Shock
- Elevated Heart Rate