Tag Archives: winter

Cold Plunge

CONEY ISLAND, NY - JANUARY 1: People run into the water just off the Boardwalk January 1, 2014 at Coney Island in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. Hundreds of people gathered for the annual New Year's Day Polar Bear swim in the ocean.  (Photo by Christopher Gregory/Getty Images)
CONEY ISLAND, NY – JANUARY 1: People run into the water just off the Boardwalk January 1, 2014 at Coney Island in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. Hundreds of people gathered for the annual New Year’s Day Polar Bear swim in the ocean. (Photo by Christopher Gregory/Getty Images)

Taking a cold plunge in the ocean is something members part of the Polar Bear Club in Coney Island, Brooklyn do all year round but especially in the winter months when the water is at freezing temperatures. I, myself try to get into the ocean as much as possible throughout the year but I prefer my plunges in the summer.

The benefits of swimming in the ocean are plenty and one of the reason why I stay so healthy throughout the year. Natural sea salt water is above all else cleansing to the body and all our organs. It is healing to the skin by keeping it hydrated, salt water contains minerals and vitamins that produce antibodies for our immune system, and it helps with blood circulation..plenty of reasons to enjoy it all summer long; but for those who enjoy the freezing cold plunges in the winter have their reasons as well. (Livestrong.com)

One reason is that the freezing cold temperatures help to activate brown fat in adult men. Brown fat is a heat-generating type of fat that burns energy instead of storing it, and this may have important implications when it comes to weight loss.These cold plunges have also been known to reduce muscle inflammation and pain and speed up recovery time after an injury. The exposure to the freezing temperatures can also help with stress and disease tolerance.(http://fitness.mercola.com/)

So whichever season you prefer for your plunge…there is no wrong turn when it comes to the ocean. Let me know in the comments how you take your dips!

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Banya: Weekly Ritual

Banya

Living on the east coast, we deal with dramatic changes on a day to day basis, which puts major stress on the body and our immune system. One day we go out under dressed cause of the warmer temperatures and the next day we’re bundled up again because it’s snowing and in the negative temperatures. Because of this bipolar weather, fevers and colds happen…if you’re wondering how I avoid getting sick…I go to the Banya!

This eastern European tradition originally came from the Greeks who had a cult of bathhouses. Now banya, also known as the bathhouse are everywhere in this amazing city of ours. They include steam rooms, dry saunas, wet saunas, a cold pool plunge, a Jacuzzi, and sometimes your ordinary pool. So what are the benefits and why do I make it a ritual to go every week? Check out several reasons below:

  • Stress during the week gives our muscles some serious tension but the heat and humidity of saunas relaxes muscles and promotes the release of stress-caused tension.
  • Hot temperatures exercise our hearts so when you are sitting in a sauna, your body learns to relax and actually helps you burn calories by sweating out toxins and excess water weight.
  • The steam in a banya will help your entire body go through detox; opening up pores, and helping with sinuses.
  • And if you are wondering why I hardly get sick during this brutal winter? Well banya’s the most useful for building up your immune system…here’s how: The heat from the banya creates an artificial “fever” ramping up your immune system. Regular use of a sauna helps fight illness. In other words, intense heat mixed with the intense cold strengthens our immune system.

Just some more amazing things that you can do in the banya that I follow religiously is getting a Platza or the American and Russian term is called a “venik”. This is a massage that is done inside the sauna with a bunch of oak or birch tree twigs. This massage provides relief from the humidity whilst releasing natural oils from the skin to improve metabolism and prevent premature aging of the skin. It also increases blood circulation

Tips: wear a hat inside the sauna to prevent from overheating. Also use natural ingredients inside the wet sauna to create an exfoliating scrub with honey and sugar or coffee to wake up the skin.