The 1×1 of ice bathing in nature - practical tips for your start in the cold.

Richard Staudner
Richard Staudner

The Optimizer

So you want to start ice bathing in nature? Maybe because my
previous articles could inspire you? Or you already go ice skating and would like to
know what is recommended? Here you can find out which procedure is recommended by scientific
findings (Manolis et al., 2019) is best and safest for you and your
Health is and get the one or other tip from my wealth of experience.
Why I present you ice bathing in nature and not in the shower? That is quite
simple! See the video or the photos in this post.


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Imagine you are standing in front of a beautiful stream, in a small valley bottom, surrounded by
trees and the only thing you hear are chirping birds. Now you go step by
Step over the loamy soil and smooth stones into the cool water.
Or! You're standing in a drab white-tiled shower stall, listening to the toilet flush your
Neighbors and cars honking in front of your house. I do not need to think twice where I
would like to cool down.

Nature gives us the chance to come to complete rest and ground ourselves. Forest
and of course running water have an incredible calming effect on our
stress system and create mentally and consequently biologically a balance for us
People. We should take advantage of that.

But it is not so easy to go ice bathing in a lake every day, the effort and often
greater distance need a lot of time. Of course, the start and also the regular
Ice bathing in the shower at home makes sense. I do nothing else in everyday life.
I would like to make you with this article the ice bathing in nature palatable and will
therefore write about cold showers only in another blog post. Of course deliver
I can also give you instructions for safe cold application in your own home.

But today, we're looking at how you can get your cold taste outdoors!

Good preparation is the essence of ice bathing!

Do a health check first!

First things first! Healthcheck! Yes, I know that sucks!
Have trusted medical professionals assure you that you have a
healthy cardiovascular system. Not all diseases speak against ice bathing,
but this should always be decided by a doctor in individual cases. Problematic
are primarily cardiac arrhythmias, long-QT syndrome, and coronary artery disease.
Please don't ignore this step just because it seems tedious. Ice bathing is for the
Heart a tremendous shock! This is to be seen as a training stimulus, but must of course of
this also be digested first once.

WHEN. At what time of year is it smart to start?

Okay, it's November now, so you're going to start now. But theoretically the best would be
Time the summer or late summer to start ice bathing. To this
time you can find beautiful, practical and accessible places and then training
continue through the fall into the winter. It is then hot outside or still so
warm that the whole setting around your first cool experience is more pleasant.
Lakes cool down already in September, streams and rivers are often already in summer.
cold. For example, the Ötschergräben have only about 6 ° even at the end of August.
Check the water temperature online before your first outing.

Increase slowly and in the long term! This gradual increase is important for your body to
not to overtax him. Ice bathing should remain a healthy hobby for you for a long time. The
Lakes in and around Vienna are about 5° in winter. For 2 minutes of fun, that's
perfectly adequate. Extremely cold situations around freezing point should be avoided in the
first 1-2 years, so despite the temptation, we'll leave the glacier lakes for now.
from 😉

WHERE? Are there any particularly suitable locations?

Why not just put it under the cold shower or in the ugly pond behind the
House? What difference does it make? Of course there is a reason why I first ice bathing
in the great outdoors and not send you to the dreary shower stall.
This has only been addressed in small studies, but you can see some benefits of ice bathing
find in natural environment.

The difference lies in the atmosphere of the forest, or nature.
Excitingly, the air, the sight and the silence in the forest bring some
scientifically measurable, health benefits, which I will discuss in another
article (on the subject of forest bathing) explain in more detail. The natural environment can be used to
example, reduce stress, blood pressure and heart rate, and have positive effects on mental
Cause health (Stier-Jarmer et al., 2021). Simply put, you are more relaxed in a
wooded environment.

Waterfalls are particularly promising. First studies on Austrian
Waterfalls show a health-promoting effect. Generally the effect is based
presumably due to the inhalation of the fine aerosols produced (these are the
water droplets in the air) when you are near waterfalls. Thereby
waterfalls have been shown to be beneficial in asthma, providing pro-asthmatic and
reduce pro-inflammatory messenger substances over the long term. Alpine waterfalls seem to
have a positive effect on the mucus loosening of the lungs. Also the stress reduction in
Hikes in combination with waterfall visits was higher than for hikes
alone. (Grafetstätter et al., 2017; Hartl et al., 2013).

So ice bathing in nature offers a bonus for health and well-being, so to speak.
It is not a must, unfortunately not everyone has a forest next door or can
visit one regularly. So you can artificial ice baths, such as in the bathtub,
the shower or even in pools to maintain a routine and give you here
and there treat the bonus of ice bathing! Every now and then, I think you should but the time
take and drive into nature and just lie down in a stream.
A well-chosen bathing resort is the be-all and end-all! The greatest danger (with medical
Well-being mind you) when ice bathing is muscle failure from the cold. If
If you go swimming in deep lakes, rivers or the sea, you run the risk of getting
physically unable to get out of the water safely. If you then add to that
alone, we'd better not imagine how the whole thing ends. It is therefore
recommended to carry out winter swimming in places where the water is calm, shallow
and is easily accessible.

Find a place where you can have your peace of mind and focus on your process
can. However, it is best to take friends with you to remote places. If you are alone,
should not be a very long hike between your ice bath and the nearest warm place
or your car. But a short walk is good for you. Always let someone know,
where you're going and what you're up to. A little message "Hey I'm going swimming today to the
Salzach, near XY" has never hurt anyone.

Make sure the water is of good quality, for example, no streams directly under or in
Animal grazing, obviously polluted or very overgrown with algae.
Algae is a sign of fertilizer in the water. Many coastal regions offer information
on water quality, if you want to swim in the sea when the sea is calm. "Blue Flag" is a
Seal for particularly clean beaches ("Blue Flag," n.d.). Check online beforehand,
especially in distant countries. Unfortunately, not every country in the world can provide a water quality
like Austria. Here you can yes during an ice bath session directly from the
Drink stream. For example, in the Ötschergräben.

If you can't think of any good places to swim, I recommend the book
"Wild Bathing Places" from the Falter publishing house. Here you will find many great places and also a
Indication of the water temperature.

Here is the link to the Falter store:

Last but not least, please respect nature reserves and swim only where it is allowed.
is and nature is not disturbed.

Be well prepared for your trip into the cold water!

When undressing or changing, make sure that your garment does not get wet, stow it away
safe and prepare your towel. From my own experience I can tell you that
after the first cold baths in nature, your fingers may not want to be as
you want. Like in winter, when you forgot your gloves. Then you want
certainly not struggle with the zip of your backpack first 🙂
Good! Now all the worries are out of the way, all the preparations are made and we
can begin!

Brace yourself! You know what's coming, take a deep breath and prepare yourself.
mentally prepare yourself for the cold. At some point we have to take heart and get into the water
rise, it is best not to wait too long in the cold air. The "jump into the cold water
we take then but only metaphorically. The emphasis here is on rising, because jumping
we certainly should not. Enter the water at a steady speed when
you want you can also rinse the limbs, whatever is good for you. Go to the
first time only as far as it feels good. This can be up to the belly, but also only up to
to the hips. If you want to immerse the whole body, please go only to about
to the belly button into the water and then sit or squat down. This is clearly
more pleasant than a long walk in cold shallow water and also less
dangerous, for example, if you get a cramp or the like.
As a beginner, please keep your head above the water level when ice bathing.

A hood is a good idea in any case. Because over the head we lose very quickly
Warmth. At the latest when you are fully immersed, the cold shock response sets in
(Bleakley and Davison, 2010). Breath probably quickens, perhaps gasp
you gasp for air and the pulse increases. The whole thing finds a maximum at about 30 seconds and
then decreases again. The more practiced, the faster. So hang in there and try to stay calm
Preserve. Focus on your breath, calm and steady. Here must each
Man find his groove. Try to get involved with what's happening and let it
to perceive, let go, allow it. Breathing out is especially important now, this reduces the
pulse and creates calmness in body and mind.

Here's a tip if at first you don't know how to deal with the cold.
three deep breaths, watch the air as it comes in through your nose.
and flows out again. What can you smell? Relax your shoulders and
your neck. Look at the surroundings, notice the nature, maybe you will notice the
something special, enjoy the moment, save it. Close your eyes
and listen. What do you hear? Then turn your attention inward. Yes, it is
cold, but how exactly does it feel? Tingling, burning, pulling, feels maybe
a place really pleasant to the touch? Where and how?

Rest in mind and body

By sitting quietly in the cold water, a very thin film of warmth is created directly on
of your skin. When you move, this layer loses itself and your skin comes
again and again in contact with new ice-cold water.
Through muscular movement, for example swimming, the blood circulation
heat is transported to the extremities. When you sit still, on the other hand, the
Heat on the center of the body and head. This is also a reason why ice bathing in a
motionless position is more "pleasant" than in motion.

Real ice swimmers who want to swim the ice mile, for example, pursue yes a
different target. The difference in the effect of moving and non-moving ice bathing.
has not yet been studied, but be aware of this change. So if you are looking for
mental training to stay in the water as long as possible, then stay still.
As you already guessed, it is not possible under the running water of the domestic
Shower to produce a film of heat. Which is why 6 ° under the shower feels a little harder
than the same temperature in a calm lake.

How long should you ice bathe?

Know your limit! Go out a little earlier and come back soon, rather than to
to stay in the water for a long time. Do not set yourself a time goal for the beginning, but rather
one for your mental state and behavior, for example: I want a calm,
maintain relaxed breathing for 10 breaths. Ice baths at particularly low
temperatures (below 10°) regularly for 1-3 minutes, is for your health
certainly more beneficial than being in the water rarely and for a very long time.

Remember the following: As a guideline, you should adjust the time to the temperature. So 15°
cold water you can enjoy up to 15 minutes. 10° maximum 10 minutes and 5
5 minutes maximum. Gain experience first before you intensify your body
exposures. Remember, the quantity makes the poison.
I myself use to stand under the shower daily for 2min, at maximum cold. This has
proved to be the most effective for me compared to other personal experiments.

One more important thing to note! When it comes to the strong, not suppressible
tremors, it makes sense to leave the water earlier in order to avoid negative effects.
prevent. It is a sign from your body that its individual limit for the time being is
is reached. He now tries to produce heat via this muscle tremor.
Ice bathing is mentally exhausting and in the beginning it can be very challenging to follow the
Resist the instinct to flee. When you can't take any more, take another leisurely
breath and then leave the water slowly and in a controlled manner, instead of rushing to escape.
to seize. Just always go at your own pace, no matter what others are doing.
This applies to everything in your life 🙂

And after the ice bath?

Immediately after swimming, you should warm up again, so be sure to take warm
Bring (dry!) robe, possibly warm up by physical exercise and
then quickly get into a warm room. Also a sauna after ice bathing
can be a luxurious reward. Try the resulting calm for a while
to take with you.

Regularity is important for physical adjustment and you should at least
once a week treat yourself to a cold session. Of course, this can simply be a cold
shower. Ideally you apply cold 2-3x per week or slowly increase to

If the breaks between the sessions are too long, there is a risk that the body will
is no longer sufficiently adapted, then you should acclimatize all over again.
I'll tell you what this looks like with cold showers in another article. Here is
the approach, of course, somewhat different than in a beautiful natural environment.

The NO GOs around ice bathing

Alcohol and drugs

Alcohol and other drugs are absolutely taboo. Your body should be in a fresh,
be in a healthy condition. Your responsiveness should not be diminished by intoxicants.
become. Further disadvantageous are lack of sleep and fatigue

You are sick?

Even though ice bathing strengthens the immune system in the long run, it acutely puts a strain on
the body. So if you are sick, take it easy, get well and then start.
Ice bathing can cause you to feel worse or if you are incubating something,
it breaks out all the more. In the case of viral infections, there is even a risk that ice bathing will cause
the blood-brain barrier is more permeable for viruses and this can lead to the
worsening of "neuroinfluent" infections (Mooventhan and Nivethitha,


Even though there is little data on this and there is nothing more natural than a
Pregnancy, I recommend that you get medical clarification beforehand. Maybe just
not the right moment for a launch. If you do want to do it, better start with
Partial cooling, so for example only the legs or arms and keep the time in the water please
briefly (1-2 minutes maximum).

Alone in the dark?

Ideally, another person should be with you, especially in the beginning. Just in case
Cases. If you experience a cramp or similar. Please start your first attempts at
Daylight and not late at night and perhaps in remote locations.
If you are advanced, please try not to set any cold records in terms of time
to set up. I know the appeal is great, but better do it when you have company.

Packing list for an ice bath in nature:

● Warm robe (a little warmer than you suspect you need).
● Hood (especially in winter when the air is cool).
● Towel
● Thermometer (to get a feel for temperature). A
Baby bath thermometer you can get in many supermarkets
● Phone
● Bathing shoes (a real blessing when entering the water in stony conditions).
● Drinks, ideally a warm tea in a thermos flask.
● Dextrose or other quick energy snack for emergencies.
● Bag to take garbage you find in the place. Even if it is not
yours is 🙂

Now get out, get your first cold experience and "leave nothing but footprints like
it is so beautifully called"!

I'm happy to receive an email with your impressions to info@richardstaudner.at

Your Performance Optimizer & Biohacker
Richard Staudner

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Bleakley, C.M., Davison, G.W., 2010. what is the biochemical and physiological rationale for.
using cold-water immersion in sports recovery? A systematic review. British Journal
Of Sports Medicine 44, 179-187. https://doi.org/10.1136/bjsm.2009.065565
Blue Flag [WWW Document], n.d. . Blue Flag. URL https://www.blueflag.global (accessed
Grafetstätter, C., Gaisberger, M., Prossegger, J., Ritter, M., Kolarž, P., Pichler, C.,
Thalhamer, J., Hartl, A., 2017. does waterfall aerosol influence mucosal immunity?
and chronic stress? A randomized controlled clinical trial. J Physiol Anthropol 36, 10.
Hartl, A., Grafetstaetter, C., Prossegger, J., Hahne, P., Braunschmid, H., Winklmayr, M.,

  1. Health effects of alpine waterfalls. Presented at the Research in Protected
    Areas, Mittersill, pp. 265-268.
    Manolis, A.S., Manolis, S.A., Manolis, A.A., Manolis, T.A., Apostolaki, N., Melita, H., 2019.

Winter Swimming: Body Hardening and Cardiorespiratory Protection Via Sustainable
Acclimation. Current Sports Medicine Reports 18, 401-415.
Mooventhan, A., Nivethitha, L., 2014. scientific evidence-based effects of hydrotherapy on
various systems of the body. N Am J Med Sci 6, 199-209.
Stier-Jarmer, M., Throner, V., Kirschneck, M., Immich, G., Frisch, D., Schuh, A., 2021. the.
Psychological and Physical Effects of Forests on Human Health: A Systematic
Review of Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses. International Journal of
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