WGN’s Dina Bair jumps into Lake Michigan on one of the coldest days of the season. Find out why — and how it could benefit you!

Medical Watch

CHICAGO — The healing power of the cold.

As we endure single-digit temps in Chicago, don’t hide from the frigid air, use it to your advantage!

 Kolby Ourada is a naturopathic doctor. His philosophy is “go jump in a lake!”

“I’m here to inspire individuals, especially with what is happening today, that we can make small choices for our health every day that can impact our health in a positive way,” he said. “One of those things that I always educate my patients on is the therapeutic benefit of cold water.”

His daily dip ritual starts on shore. 

“There is more heat that is happening internally, which will allow yourself to build resilience and allow yourself over time to handle the cold in a more easier fashion,” he said.

After the warm-up in 7-degree air, it’s time to strip down and ease into 39-degree water. Unlike a quick polar plunge, Ourada recommends submerging and staying in for about 90 seconds – no longer — to maximize metabolic impact and minimize injury.

“I go all the way in up to my shoulders. And then I’m ready to rock and roll,” he said. “Cold water increases your immune function. It also increases your metabolic rate so especially this time of year everybody is into weight loss. One of the easiest things you can do is expose yourself to cold water. … the more relaxed you can stay withing yourself, the more Zen you can get, you will allow yourself to handle that external circumstance to a higher degree.”

And then it was WGN’s Medical Reporter Dina Bair and producer Katharin Czink’s turn.

A quick exit is key, with have dry clothes and a towel waiting.

“In my opinion, one of the best benefits is it build character,”  Ourada said.

The holistic practitioner plans to plunge all month long. It’s his way of promoting better physical and mental health.

To learn more about Dr Kolby Ourada, check out www.havenholistichealth.com

“It’s overcoming adversity,” he said. “So to me that is equally important as anything physically that you can do for your health.”

If a winter swim doesn’t float your boat, a quick, frigid blast in the shower can do the trick. Those with heart conditions or other underlying health issues should talk to a doctor before taking a polar plunge or working out in the cold.

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