Cold Comfort - In Conversation With: Wim ‘The Iceman' Hof
National Geographic Traveller (UK)|Winter Sports 2022
The popularity of fitness training in extreme cold conditions is fast gathering fans, largely thanks to the Wim Hof Method, pioneered by its Dutch namesake. We ask him how he does it
By Kerry Walker

Tell me about how you first got into ice-bathing?

I started ice-bathing in the Netherlands back when nobody else was doing it. It deeply resonated with something inexplicable within me. Naturally, when something deeply moves you, you keep on doing it, as I did. Through ice-bathing, I found that deeper breathing was an effective means of changing my physical power and biochemistry. It was a great discovery.

Why is the cold so powerful?

When you live in a city, you can find deep stillness and a real energy boost by going into cold water. Your inner nature is activated, and it makes you understand your true lifeforce, which in turn can be spiritual. There’s amazing power in ice-bathing and cold-water immersion. It’s the answer when it comes to strengthening the immune system.

Why do you personally love the cold?

I love the cold because of the physical strength it gives you and the spirituality of being — no words are needed. To be or not to be, cold is the answer! It’s excellent cardiovascular training: energy-enhancing and the ultimate immune system booster. I believe people who train regularly in the cold don’t become sick.

How does cold-water swimming change you physically, and how long does it take to adapt?

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