What Is Cold Thermogenesis And How Can It Benefit Long-Term Health?

What is cold thermogenesis?

Everyone is talking about cold exposure lately but why all the fuss? It’s popular with athletes, health enthusiasts, and people who want to shed extra pounds. Cold thermogenesis is also promoted by Wim Hof, Tim Ferriss, and Jack Kruse.

If these famous people love it, then there must be some benefits, right?

Well, in this post you’ll learn;

  • What is cold thermogenesis and why should you consider it?
  • The health benefits that cold thermogenesis provides.
  • How to take advantage of these benefits.
  • What are the potential side effects of exposing yourself to the cold?

Let’s dive in!

What Is Cold Thermogenesis And Why Should You Care?

Cold Pool with Heart

Cold thermogenesis is a fancy way of saying cold exposure. It refers to any time where you’re in an environment and the temperature is less than 37°C or 98.6°F. That’s almost all the time unless you’re living in a hot city.

So when your body is in an environment that’s below this temperature, it’s forced to create its own heat. This is where the magic begins.

You have two types of fat. White fat and brown fat. White fat is the fat you’re thinking about. It sits around your hips, belly, and waist. Brown fat is the good fat since it’s responsible for keeping your body warm. It does this by raising your body temperature and to do that, it must burn glucose. This results in weight loss.

What cold thermogenesis does is, triggers your brown fat to compensate for the cold environment which burns glucose and helps you lose weight. But weight loss isn’t the only benefit to cold thermogenesis. 

What Are The Benefits Of Cold Thermogenesis?

Win-Hof ICE

Most people who promote cold thermogenesis focus on weight and fat loss. Although these benefits are compelling given that millions of people worldwide are struggling with obesity, there are other benefits that advocates of cold exposure fail to promote. 

These benefits include;

  • Increased recovery after workouts.
  • Boosts immunity against infectious diseases.
  • Increases testosterone. 
  • It boosts mood
  • Increased mental toughness.

It Helps You Recover Faster

Most athletes will climb into a cold plunge or cold shower after an intense training session. This is because cold exposure is an effective way to help your muscles recover from a workout and perform better next time.

Cold thermogenesis reduces inflammation in your muscles and joints and inflammation is one of the main reasons why you wake up feeling sore. 

When you sit in cold water or expose yourself to cold, you change the way your blood and other body fluids flow within your body. Your blood vessels constrict and when you get out of the cold shower or plunge, it opens up again. This helps flush away metabolic waste after a tough workout. 

Cold Thermogenesis Boosts Immunity

This is a helpful benefit, especially how the state of the world is right now. 

Geert Buijze ran a study where he asked 3,000 volunteers to finish off their showers with 20, 60, and 90 seconds of cold water. They then looked at the work attendance of these participants compared to the control group. The results were shocking.

Those who took cold showers every morning had a 29% higher work attendance than those who didn’t.

This shows the power of regular cold exposure.

When you take cold showers or expose yourself to cold in general, your body starts shivering and this is its way of warming you up. It also raises cortisol in your body which induces something similar to a flight-or-fight response. Doing this increases your body’s chances of fighting infectious disease.

Cold Showers Increases Testosterone

Cold Thermogenesis Shower

Decreasing testosterone is a major problem that most men face. In today’s world, there’s pollution, fast food, and other modern problems that cause our testosterone levels to plummet.

Taking cold showers is one of the best ways to boost sperm and testosterone production. This helps you build muscle, lose fat, and increase hair growth.

A study done by the University of California found that men exposed to 30 minutes of cold showers per week had a 491% increase in sperm count. All it takes is around 4 minutes of cold exposure per day to experience this life-changing benefit.

Cold Showers Makes You Feel Amazing

Cold Shower Rush

Fatigue, anxiety, and depression are all common problems that our society faces. Although cold showers are definitely not a treatment for the conditions mentioned above, they can help increase energy, reduce anxiety, and help you feel better.

If you’ve even taken a cold shower, you know that after you get out, you feel amazing.

This is helpful if you struggle to wake up in the morning and you feel groggy. A cold shower will wake your body up in the morning, rid you of that sluggish feeling, and get you alert and awake.

You could also use a cold shower to your advantage if you feel tired in the afternoon. Most people start feeling unproductive and tired around one and four in the afternoon. But if you make it a habit of taking a cold shower at this time, then you’ll feel better and your productivity will increase.

Increases Mental Toughness

Everyone talks about the physical benefits of cold showers but fails to recognize how important the mental side is.

Most people don’t face much adversity during their lives. But by simply doing something difficult every morning or afternoon, you’ll build up your mental strength.

Those first few seconds before you take a shower or dive into a plunge, you tell yourself to stop. There’s a mental block that you need to overcome and if you can do that, then it’ll make the rest of your day much easier.

You also increase the amount of brown fat on your body when you take regular cold showers. This makes it easier to hop into a cold shower or plunge as time goes on.

Cold Thermogenesis Increases Alertness And Focus

When you hop out of a shower or cold plunge, it almost feels like you’ve hit a reset button. All the fatigue you’ve experienced disappears and you feel like a new person.

This works well if you’re heading to work and you need to be sharp. Simply hopping in the shower can improve your alertness and work productivity.

How Can I Benefit From Cold Thermogenesis?

Cold Exposure Benefits

You might be thinking, “All these benefits sound great, but how do I experience all the benefits of cold thermogenesis?” When people think of cold exposure, they immediately jump to thinking of cold showers or cold plunges.

But there are less intimidating ways to experience these benefits. 

Drink Cold Water

Your body only needs to be below 37°C or 98.6°F to experience the benefits of cold thermogenesis. So if you’re not willing to jump into a freezing shower or plunge, then drinking ice cold water every now and then can force your brown fat to burn calories and keep you warm.

Go For A Walk

If you live in a place where it’s chilly, then going outside in a summer wardrobe will cause your body to shiver and burn extra calories to keep warm. You could always take a jersey and long pants with so if you’re getting too cold, then you can get warmer quickly.

Take A Cold Shower

Let’s move onto the intimidating stuff. Although it might seem scary at first, after taking cold showers for a few weeks, it’ll get easier. 

This is because your body adapts and will produce more brown fat to compensate for the constant cold exposure. This brown fat keeps you warm and as your body produces more brown fat, cold showers become easier.

Are There Any Health Risks?

If your cold exposure consists of taking cold showers or cold plunges, then there shouldn’t be any long-term health effects. 

But if you’re doing more extreme challenges like hiking up a cold mountain while only wearing shorts like Win Hof, you’ll want to take precautions so you don’t get frostbite.

One thing to look out for is that if you’re taking cold plunges in a freezer, then always unplug your freezer before hopping in. If not, then you’ll be sitting in water that’s connected to electricity at the same time. If something malfunctions, then you’re in trouble.


Cold thermogenesis is an effective way to increase testosterone, burn fat, and increase mental strength. If you aren’t willing to hop into a freezing shower, then opt for drinking cold water or walking outside in your summer clothes. These are easy ways to get your body to burn fat.

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