Deliberate cold exposure has several benefits:
Mental Acuity and Mood Enhancement: Cold exposure increases levels of norepinephrine, epinephrine, and dopamine in our system, which can sharpen our mental acuity, elevate our mood, and improve our alertness. This effect can last for a significant period of time.
Eustress Creation: Cold exposure creates a type of stress called eustress, which is associated with positive health outcomes. This is because it increases norepinephrine and dopamine without significantly increasing the stress hormone cortisol.
Metabolism and Inflammation: Cold exposure can increase metabolism and convert white fat cells, which store energy, to beige or brown fat cells, which are thermogenic and help increase core body temperature. It can also reduce inflammation post-exercise and generally.
Potential Testosterone Increase: While not definitively proven, there are plausible mechanisms by which cold exposure could increase testosterone. This could be due to increased blood flow to the testicles following vasoconstriction and vasodilation, or due to the increase in dopamine, which can stimulate testosterone indirectly.
Remember, while these benefits are promising, it's important to approach cold exposure responsibly to avoid potential harm.