Ron Batuigas | 7 Tips on Cold Dipping

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Good advice that and I’ll take it on board when Im cold water swimming

Paul mccartin June 28, 2023

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Ron Batuigas wakes up every morning and plunges himself into the freezing icy waters of Lake Ontario in Toronto, Canada. While typically people hibernate during the winter, cold dipping is becoming more and more popular. It’s not just the health benefits that are encouraging people to try cold dipping, the activity has developed into a culture offering a path to wellness through a connected community. Batuigas, who has 800 consecutive dips and counting, shares some tips for anyone considering taking the icy plunge. 

1. Safety First

Before you jump into cold culture, there are safety concerns to consider. Batuigas says you never really know how your body is going to react the first time. He recommends going with a cold coach, an experienced friend, or an established group for your first time. Not only will a coach or group help guide you through the logistics, but they can coach you through the mental journey, breath work, and maintain and teach safety while you enjoy your first dip whether it be in a natural setting or an ice bath. 

2. Ice bath, Cold Shower, Natural Cold Dip

While cold dipping in a natural body of water might be considered the holy grail, that isn’t always an option, especially in the summer. Batuigas himself uses ice baths to continue his practice when natural cold water isn’t available. Cold showers and using contrast therapy (mixing hot and cold water) are also an option, as are newly popular bathhouses or wellness spaces that offer cold dipping. 

3. How Long? Two Minutes 

According to research from Wim Hof and the Huberman Lab, Batuigas says, “For the benefits: two minutes. The first 30 seconds is the hard part, it’s the fight or flight. If you resist that, after 30 seconds it’s like you’re already there,” he says. While some people stay in for longer, including Batuigas, he notes that more than 10 minutes brings in hypothermia risks. Since the objective is to gain health benefits, Batuigas maintains working up to the two minutes is more than enough.

4. Follow Your Gut

Batuigas says it’s important to check your ego before you dip. It’s not about how long you can stay in the water, it’s about accessing health benefits and, with that in mind, listening to your body is the most important safety precaution. “It all comes down to your gut: follow your gut and follow your instinct and it takes you to places you never thought,” Batuigas says. That applies to safety and how long you stay in the water, what you take from the experience, and how you decide to practice. Trust that your body knows what is right for you.

5. Mind Over Matter

But, how do you actually stay in freezing water and get through the flight or fight stage? Batuigas explains that it’s all about mindset and he always reminds people: “The water never gets colder than 0C.” The reminder is especially helpful when the air temperature is even colder. The key, he says, is accessing mental resilience. “It’s how you think of the challenge— if you’re thinking you can’t make it, you’re not going to be able to do it,” he says. “I think why most people get into the cold is the resilience. If I can handle this, you’ll handle everything in your life.”

6. Social or Solo

Whichever way you choose to practice will depend on your experience goals. Cold dipping filled a much needed social void for Batuigas when the pandemic shut down other social avenues but it also became something he cherishes doing alone. The community he built through social media, Unbounded, and now Othership, have further expanded the social opportunities that cold culture offers. “I enjoy the community aspect,” he says, naming it as his greatest accomplishment since embracing the cold. He urges everyone, especially first-timers, to explore the cold with certified coaches to guarantee safety. However, now that he is experienced and fluent in the safety protocols, he primarily practices alone. “I still enjoy my moment alone. It’s how I get my perspective,” he explains. “Ever since I embraced the cold I’ve been waking up at 5am no matter what. My routine is to welcome the sunrise so I’m in the water when he sun comes up and I get fulfillment from that—just me in the water witnessing the sunrise.” 

7. Enjoy the shiver

After over 800 consecutive cold dips, Batuigas says he no longer shivers—and he misses that. “I don’t shiver anymore. I lost that so I chase it. I see people shivering and I get jealous,” he laughs. Losing the natural shiver shows how his body has adapted to the cold but Batuigas longs for the excitement, unknown, and fun of his first cold dip. “I won’t get my first time experience back again so I enjoy taking people on this journey because I get to witness how I was when I first embraced cold,” he says. In other words, enjoy your first steps into cold culture, whether you start with a 30 second cold shower or go all in on a cold camp, embrace the cold every step of the way. 

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Good advice that and I’ll take it on board when Im cold water swimming

Paul mccartin

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