Wim Hof is an extreme athlete from the Netherlands who holds dozens of world records for activities like swimming in ice water and running barefoot in the snow.
The self-described “Iceman” promotes a fitness regimen that includes cold water plunges and a special breathing procedure.
The scientific evidence behind his cold-exposure technique is still limited, but a few studies suggest it works.
The “Iceman” was 17 when he first dove, unclothed, into the bone-chilling waters of Amsterdam’s Beatrixpark Canal. It just felt right.
“I felt this attraction to the cold water,” Wim Hof, who has become something of a fitness guru, told Rolling Stone in 2017. “After I went in, I felt this understanding, an inside connection. It gave me a rush. My mind was free of gibberish.”
The plunge laid the groundwork for a series of world records that Hof has set, including the farthest swim under ice and the fastest barefoot half-marathon on ice/snow. Hence the Dutch athlete’s nickname: Iceman.
Hof proselytizes what he calls the “Wim Hof Method,” a three-pronged combination of breathing, cold exposure, and meditation. The 59-year-old has followers around the world, and even offers a free mini-course online in six languages.
“Over time, we as humans have developed a different attitude towards nature and we’ve forgotten about our inner power,” Hof explains on his site. “This is the ability of our body to adapt to extreme temperature and survive within our natural environment.”
The idea, as journalist and anthropologist Scott Carney explains it in his book “What Doesn’t Kill Us,” is that along with a healthy diet and regular exercise, our bodies might need environmental stress to reach the highest level of fitness.
There is some research to support this — getting out into the cold may increase our beneficial brown fat stores, which help keep us warm and convert stored-up energy (ahem, pudge) into heat. But the scientific jury is still out.
The Iceman’s method
The first thing to master, Hof says, is his breathing technique.
“You will understand ‘high on your own supply’ when you do this,” he says in a video demonstration.
The technique takes a bit of practice. Hof recommends trying it laying down. It involves first completing a series of about 30 active, deep breaths in, followed by passive breaths out. The …read more
Source:: Business Insider