Cold plunges don’t hold all the secrets of the universe, no matter how much fitness influencers like to talk about them.

But they’re still pretty special, as we’ve covered before. Cold water exposure has been linked to reduced inflammation and decreased pain tolerance, and can elicit a range of happy physiological responses on account of blood circulation and neurotransmitter release.

I like to start my day with one as often as possible. Unfortunately, booking in for a proper plunge at a studio is expensive, while getting to the Atlantic Ocean is a 45-minute odyssey. I settle for the coldest my shower can go, which is somewhere between 50-70°F, depending on the time of year.

Recently, though, I stumbled upon a MacGyver hack to make the shower colder — and get it closer to the sub-40°F tubs at the buzzy health clubs. No plumbing chops necessary.

The “cold plunge” hack

This trick arrives courtesy of Miles Lukas, a YouTuber under the account name Breathe Fitness, who’s practiced Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for 25 years and is now a certified Wim Hof instructor.

In a Whoop-paired video — you can see live updates of Lukas’ heart rate throughout the three-minute clip — Miles affixes a mesh shoe pouch full of ice to his shower head with a hook. He ensures the ice is directly in front of the shower plate so that the cold water has no choice but to get even colder. The shower melts down the bag of ice, creating what Lukas calls an “ice melt river.”

How well does it work?

Lukas hoped to get his heart rate up into the 130-bpm range. He peaked around 116, instead, but seemed pleased regardless, sharing that (a) he got his daily dose, and (b) it was shocking how pedestrian the frigidity of his everyday “tap water” was in comparison to the ice-aided flow.

Ultimately, it’s unlikely that hanging a bag of ice in front of the shower will fully replicate the sensation of jumping into a freezing lake or taking an “ice bath breathwork” class at Remedy Place. But it’s a convenient, cost-effective, still-pretty-freaking-cold alternative that should imbue a sense of purpose and fun into your routine.

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