Strawberry Hill Farm

Written by Jacques Marais
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“In the depth of winter,
I finally learned that within me
There lay an invincible summer”

Albert Camus

Winter is not coming. It is already here.

Over the next few days, the Cape will be strafed by an icy tempest of epic proportions, with major snow dumps over the higher-lying peaks. I will be journeying into the Cederberg ranges with Kay and the kids to create visual content for Kagga Kamma Nature Reserve and current forecasts predict freezing weather. This makes for a perfect opportunity for some proper #ColdExposure Therapy ❄️❄️❄️🍃

According to The Iceman (Wim Hof), “We have become alienated from nature, but the cold is capable of bringing us back to what we once had lost”. This extreme exposure can be linked to a range of health benefits through catalysing ‘hormetic’ stress, or those stressors that the minds and bodies of our #paleo ancestors were hot-wired to instinctually react to during moments of danger.

Unlike chronic stress that debilitates us, the process of #hormesis makes your body stronger by over-compensating for minor injury or discomfort. This is why #IceSwimming and cold-water immersion therapy is gaining in popularity around the world: safe and controlled exposure to freezing water – up to the point of adaptation equilibrium – will kickstart your immune system by boosting the level of endogenous antioxidants.

There are a number of reasons why this happens … Firstly, extreme cold reduces inflammation and muscle damage, and secondly, through challenging your body’s #homeostasis (the regulation and balance of internal physiological processes), it boosts both your metabolism and the corresponding #Immunoresponse protocol.

Frequent exposure to cold is scientifically proven to enhance sleeping patterns, concentration and immunity, as well as speed up muscle recovery after intense exercise. This is one of the ‘three pillars’ of the #wimhof Method, and is just one part of the #healthhack regimen Karyn Marais has been instilling in our family over the past year or so.

Dawn winter swims and bracing #barefoot walks every morning soon condition you to trade the minor discomforts for the absolute rush of endorphins you experience as part of the ice-water burn. You also soon realise that much of it is mind-over-matter and become addicted to the routine, to the extent that your day feels empty without that icy immersion.

Anyway, that’s what I’m telling myself, and we will see how well it unfolds as the #IceOom goes sub-zero at a predicted -4 Degrees Celsius this weekend in the Cederberg. In the end, life really is about these simple routines where you find challenge and exhilaration in the small adventures of your day-to-day living.

At least we had a chance to practice our commitment to the cold a week or so ago at the gorgeous Grootvadersbosch ConservancyAileen Anderson has a natural pond on Strawberry Hill Farm, and we did our dawn swim in around 8 Degrees Celsius. Even though Emma Prain might not agree, I think the rest of us found it to be an invigorating experience.

We’ll report back after our #KaggaKamma immersion, but this is the important thing to remember: there are no excuses, only opportunities 🙏😊

More information at www.wimhofmethod.com

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