Applying an ice pack for 30 minutes to fatty areas of the body could help you lose weight, according to US researchers.
They believe that cold prompts the body to turn white fat into beige fat, which burns calories.
The basics of ice therapy are pretty straightforward – the body needs to mobilize more energy to keep the body’s temperature up, and therefore, burns more energy. Assuming everything else is kept constant, like food intake, exercise, and the type of food being eaten, this can help lose fat. There’s a couple of things at work here, and it’s important to know it’s not simply ‘burning more food to keep warm’.
Firstly, the body does use more energy to maintain body heat, so that is technically correct. But there’s much more going on, and it’s this detail that we should be most interested in.
There are two kinds of fat in the body – the regular, white fat that you might think of, and, there’s a different kind of fat, that sits around muscles and has different functions to that stuff sitting around your belly or your hips.
One of the important functions this ‘brown fat’ has is to burn off fatty acids, and glucose, as heat. Effectively, it can burn off energy, in these two forms (glucose and fatty acids), to provide heat to the muscles and the body in general. This is of a lot of interest for anyone wanting to lose fat – because effectively what this means is that some cold exposure can go a long way, further than the simple equation of extra energy required to keep warm.
So how do you test this?
- To start, get set up for your cold therapy -buy some (fun optional) ice cube trays, and set up some ice cubes in the freezer. Consider buying an ice pack that is larger or better shaped than a regular sports freezer compress.
- Find your favorite stop- watch or app on your Smartphone
- Follow the Cold Therapy Routine included below – Monday to Friday, and measure your results
- Check your results compared to other weeks, and decide whether you will continue for another week (or month)!
Monday – Friday
Wake up and drink Ice Water – around .5 liters or 17oz
Have a shower (see the cold showers note below) – make it around 5-10 minutes of cold.
Eat breakfast around 30 minutes after drinking the ice water
Pull an ice pack from the freezer and get comfy on the couch for around 30 minutes – place the ice pack on the back of the neck or a little lower down.
Take another shower (see the cold showers note below) – 5-10 minutes of cold.
“Take a Cold Shower!”
They help fight off the common cold by improving immune function, they help lean muscle tissue develop, and they even stave off depression, even in those deep winter months.
So why wouldn’t you take a cold shower!? Well, it can be uncomfortable at first, that could be a good reason why you’ve never tried one.
Tips to make Cold Showers easy
Start with a nice warm shower, and include head and hair in the process. Once suitably warm and feeling good, start backing the hot water tap out of the equation, so that the temperature of the water gradually gets cooler.
But there’s one key point to this that can make a world of difference.
If you avoid running the colder water through your hair, you don’t generally have the same level of discomfort or sensation of cold, when the hot water is taken out of the mix. You feel the cold water, and you are definitely aware that it’s not hot, but it doesn’t send the ‘death chills’ down your spine. Now, of course, all things being equal, most likely the colder you feel the more the effects of the cold are working, so I suggest this as a nice intro to cold showers, not as a permanent remedy to that feeling.
Once you’re acclimatized to the sensation of cold water on the skin, then it’s time to step up and let the cold water run free – through your hair and all. You’ll barely notice it though because you’ll be a seasoned pro.