The Nordic Cycle
Updated: Sep 2
Welcome to the second in this series of a-curiosity-a-day.
Recently, I have started enjoying the feeling of following up my swimming sessions with alternating sets of a hot and cold bath. I typically spend 1 minute in a hot pool, followed by 1 minute in the cold pool.
For reference, the hot pool is at 38 degrees celsius, whereas the ‘cold’ pool is at 15 degrees celsius. Of course, it’s not icy cold like the Nordics, but the temperature difference is enough to make one hyperventilate.
There was an interesting bit I heard on a podcast with Dr. Sinclair where he explains why such a bath routine contributes to longevity.
He mentions that humans have sirtuins - a family of proteins involved in metabolic regulation - that get turned on in times of adversity.
This adversity signals the body to use fewer resources than usual. Hence, putting one’s body through these states of adversity from time-to-time contributes to longevity. Sounds fairly logical.
Yesterday, I wanted to really feel how the process felt. After my swimming workout, I entered the hot pool. The body relaxed and I felt calm. After a minute, I started my dreadful walk to the cold pool.
I entered one step at a time into the cold pool- already prepping myself via hyperventilation. After the 4th step, the water was up to my shoulders. I began the count, “1 wolverine, 2 wolverine, etc.”. Initially, it felt like countless needles were poking me, followed by most of the body going numb.
I followed this with 3 complete dunks in the water at sporadic intervals.
After “60 wolverine”, I got up slowly and made my way to the hot pool. I felt great - invincible and unbreakable. Try it for yourself to find out!
I did these reps twice.
The slight niggle in my back from the swimming was gone for good.
This article gives a peek into the history of hot/cold therapy along with detailed benefits.
Fin. Thanks for reading!
Question to reader:
Would you like to share any experiences?