Cold water hardening is for women, too! Learn how to prepare for a freezing bath!
Hardening has become a big hit in recent years. Despite its many health benefits, it is unfortunately still a big NO-NO for most women. We tend to avoid it and refuse to give up our long hot baths. However, the fact that you are reading these lines is a sign that you are ready to get out of your comfort zone and start regular hardening. In an interview with our marketing specialist, Sima, you will learn everything you need to know about hardening.
You've probably got in touch with Simona “Sima” even without knowing about it. She speaks to you every day through our instagram and Facebook accounts. She's a hard-working woman, who loves fitness and hard workouts, and she has been hardening for several years now. We asked her about her beginnings with hardening, about practical tips for both women and men, and also about whether she managed to lose weight and strengthen her immunity thanks to hardening.
Most of us delay hardening despite its benefits. How long did it take you to finally try it?
I have been hardening for about 3 to 4 years. I stopped counting it. It started with my friend, who does these things without any hesitation. Then a few months later, I had a breaking point when I said I would finally join him. At first, it was challenging like everything you've never done before, but I quickly fell in love with the feeling you get when you come out of that cold water.
What is your hardening routine?
I start hardening in August. This will prepare the body for the autumn cooling. I start with a cold morning shower and lighter clothes. Every morning I start with breathing exercises - Breath of Fire *, which oxygenates the body. After this, I take a cold shower and then a short warm-up. I don't go to the lake regularly anymore, only when I feel like it.
Do you notice any changes after regular hardening? Is it true that hardening can lead to weight loss?
I must say that I was one of those people who got sick almost every month. Thanks to the supplementation of vitamins, zinc, D3 and other micronutrients in combination with hardening, my immunity has greatly improved. Now I get sick maybe once a year, even slightly. It's a great feeling that the illnesses don't limit me that much anymore.
Hardening does not equal weight loss. Although the morning cold shower sets off the metabolism, you can't expect to get abs only with hardening. However, you will definitely appreciate firmer and more elastic skin after regular hardening. I also adapt more effectively to the external environment. When it's summer, I tolerate heat better and I tolerate cold better in winter. If something gets on me, a cold shower will drive it away in the beginning. If I'm already sick, I skip hardening until I'm completely healthy.
What advice would you give our fans that want to start hardening?
First of all, you should know that hardening is not just about swimming in a frozen lake. This also includes wearing lighter layers of clothing, outdoor sports or taking showers with cold water. You should pay close attention to all forms of strengthening immunity before entering the water.
Start gradually by ending your showers with cold water. Then just extend the time you spend under a stream of cold water to 1-2 minutes. After at least 3 months of hardening (but ideally after a year), you can try to enter a cold lake. I believe that you would be able to do it sooner, but the real benefits will come only when you prepare your body sufficiently for this form of extreme.
Well, let's say I dressed lightly for a whole year, went winter hiking and took cold water showers. Now I'm already here, standing by the lake, ready to go in. What do I do now?
Take a short preparation before hardening in the lake. Do a few deep breaths and exhale, get a warm-up with a few squats and jumps. Repeat the exercise even after hardening, so that the body warms up faster.
Do you breathe according to the method of Wim Hoff? Have you heard about this author?
Yes, I know Wim Hoff's breathing method, I've been doing it for a while now. It's really inspiring. It shows in a very clear way what the body can do thanks to proper breathing. For hardening, I prefer controlled and slow breathing to calm my body. If anyone wants to start hardening, I definitely recommend this book.
Is hardening also suitable for women?
Certainly yes! Hardening is suitable for anyone who wants to move their body and mind to a higher level. The effect of cold water has many benefits, not only for high profile athletes, but also for average people, regardless of gender. Cold affects the formation of new mitochondria and increases their function, which results in better energy production, faster regeneration, reduces inflammation in the body or optimizes hormones. At the same time, it helps increase immunity or insulin resistance.
Are there any risks to hardening?
There are risks, as with everything. If women start to harden without training, they may be more likely to harm themselves. Risks I know about include colds, weakened immunity or skin problems. Therefore, start sensibly and regularly expose yourself to the cold - whether in the shower or outdoor sports.
Do you recommend hardening in the shower rather than in the lakes?
I always recommend starting with a cold shower. More advanced people should definitely try hardening in lakes. It's an amazing feeling! I still remember my very first hardening in the lake. It felt unreal. That's when hardening really got to me for the first time.
Do you only need a swimsuit or do you also wear special socks / gloves?
If it is not so cold, a swimsuit is enough for me, of course from NEBBIA :) , but when there's already snow and a few degrees below 0, I definitely go with a hat. But I also see a lot of people wearing gloves.
What are your personal records? And what do you do to stay in the water longer?
My personal record is 12 minutes in the lake at about 2 to 3°C. I found out that I can actually last longer in the lake than in a cold shower. The main key is proper and deep breathing.
Do you have any final advice for beginners?
Of course! Hardening should not be taken as a modern trend, but as part of oneself. Above all, pay attention to consistency, because only then can you see the real benefits. Hardening is a great way to overcome your limits and improve your immunity. Don't forget to follow NEBBIA on Instagram and Facebook, where we have more fitness advice for you :) !
* Breath of Fire- a special breathing exercise that is used in Kundalini Joga. It includes passive breaths and active exhalations that are fast and strong.