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How Long to Cold Plunge

Updated: 6 days ago

Ice baths are trending. If you haven't seen anyone posting videos or images of themselves in cold plunges, you probably haven't been on social media in a long time.

Unfortunately with many trends, people get into them without really understanding their background, or how to do them safely. If you're looking to maximize the benefits, safety is key. Sitting in one for too long can give you hypothermia, so it's pretty important to proceed cautiously. Plus, there are optimal timings that can help you achieve your goals.

Interested in learning more? Then here's how long to cold plunge so you can take ice baths safely.

how long to cold plunge
Are you wondering how long to cold plunge?

Cold Plunge for Beginners

As a beginner, you'll want to start out slow and steady. If you jump into the deep end, so to speak, you won't have a good experience, and you may even bring on health issues. You'll also want to check with your doctor before you start cold plunges to ensure it's safe to do.

So how long to cold plunge for the first time? Having led more than 4,000 others through our breathwork & ice bath on the beach in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, we recommend starting out with short two minute ice baths at 10C (50F). 

If you can't handle handle two minutes seconds, then listen to your body and get out if you're feeling bad. On the other hand, if it doesn't feel that uncomfortable, stay in for three.

To prepare yourself, start by taking cold showers days before the actual ice bath. This will build up a little tolerance to the cold.

Once you've done your first, you can start upping your next sessions by 10-15 seconds, or 15-30 seconds if you can tolerate it. We never recommend going more than 5 minutes.

The most important thing is to listen to your body. Not only can pushing yourself cause health issues, but it can also hinder progress in the long run.

If you experience any of the following, you should get out of the ice bath immediately:

  • Shivering

  • Chest pain

  • Lightheadedness

  • Irregular breathing

  • Extremities losing color or going blue

How Long to Cold Plunge for the Maximum Benefits

Studies on this are still limited. However, according to Dr. Susanna Soeberg, the leading expert on cold exposure, 11 minutes per week divided into 2-3 minute sessions will reap the ultimate benefits.

We've been testing this theory out on our members for the last 3 years and we've seen amazing results.

On that note, if you just want to soak your feet, a temperature as high as 68°F is okay. Because the temp's a bit higher, you can safely soak your feet for up to 20 minutes.

The general consensus is that you should do sessions of 2-3 minutes for a total of 11 minutes per week. This means the optimal number of sessions per week is around four, although you could do more or less depending on your own preferences.

For more specific scenarios, keep reading. In the next sections, we'll discuss cold plunge time in more detail.

Fat Burning

An effective way to lose weight is to speed up your metabolism. Being cold works for this, as your body has to work harder to maintain its core temperature. As a result, you'll burn more energy and therefore, shed fat faster.

The temperature should be 57°F, but the time in the bath will vary depending on the individual. Those with higher body fat may feel the cold less, so they may be able to stay in for longer. However, you should always listen to your body and get out if you feel discomfort.


One of the best ways to fight against inflammation is to use the power of coldness. And luckily for you, ice baths are great for relieving symptoms.

One study found that 10 minutes of a 57°F ice bath can slow down cytokines, which cause inflammation. We'd recommend following the same cold plunge temperature and time if you want to reduce swelling in your joints. However, do follow other medical advice from your doctor and don't stop unless instructed to.

Better Sleep

We typically associate hot baths and showers with better sleep, but that's if you take them right before bedtime. But if you exercise and want improved recovery, there's a side benefit from cold plunges: better quality sleep.

You should follow a workout with a 10-minute plunge at 55°F. It'll help you rest more peacefully and wake up more refreshed.


Anxiety can have a tight grip on your life, putting racing thoughts into your head constantly. What's amazing about cold plunges is the reset that can quiet those thoughts and calm you down.

To set up an ice bath for anxiety or stress reduction, sit in water for five minutes at 53°F. This can activate your parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for "rest and digest" conditions.


Another mental health issue many people struggle with is depression. Endorphins are a fantastic way to decrease symptoms, and a popular way to release them is through exercise.

Another method is to take an ice bath. You can use a 68°F one for 2-3 minutes, and do it once or twice a day.

cold plunge time
It's cold plunge time!!

How to Make Cold Plunges More Bearable

If you've jumped into a cold pool before, you might've noticed that your breathing and heart rate sped up. As a result, you feel physiological effects, such as mild panic or excitement. 

When doing a cold plunge, the same can happen. For some, it can be a negative feeling, which makes them want to get out of the ice bath ASAP.

To combat this feeling and to make things more bearable, you should practice breathing techniques. These can calm you down, and we highly recommend doing the exercises before you jump in.

Do Cold Plunges Safely

Knowing how long to cold plunge can make all the difference between a pleasant or horrible time.

Those who are new to ice baths should start with 30 seconds, especially if they don't have a good tolerance for the cold already. Work your way up by increasing each plunge by 10-30 seconds, depending on how you feel. By going slowly but steadily, you'll eventually reach a comfortable period.

If you want a guided experience with experts in a gorgeous setting, then book an ice bath with Reconnect today. We also have instructor certification courses that'll teach you effective breathwork techniques.


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