SUU Outdoors held the latest installment of their Outdoor Education Series on April 6. The event was hosted by Keith Howells, a former Southern Utah University student with a passion for cold plunges. He invited attendees to try a two-minute cold plunge in one of four provided tubs of icy water.
Howells first got into cold plunging a few years ago as a way to help him manage his anxiety. Now, he loves sharing the activity with as many people as possible to help them with their own mental health.
“My first cold plunge, I went in 30-40 seconds, and I was like, ‘I can’t do it anymore!’ and I hopped out,” said Howells. “Since then, I’ve taken a bunch of courses, started moving up, and now I run these events. I take these portable tubs all over the place, and I just love it.”
There are four types of people who cold plunge, according to Howells. “There are people that are doing it for physiological reasons: people with autoimmune diseases, people doing it to improve circulation, blood pressure, immune systems,” he explained. “There is the mental health side, [then] there are the people that want to prove they’re the biggest badass in the room.”
Howells then said that the fourth group is those who “got dragged along” or are just trying something new, citing chilly reporters as one example.
As the event came to a close, Howells emphasized the benefits to one’s mental health that come from a cold plunge.
“We all struggle in some way with mental health,” he said. “We can get through it. We can sit in the cold water in that moment of just ‘this sucks’ for two minutes, get through it, work through it, and then come out better in the end.”
Story by: Jacob Horne
Photo courtesy of SUU Outdoors