Cold Plunging All Winter Into Spring

by | Apr 19, 2024

Above: Lee Marcello marked his 100th plunge with a friends and family, at Sandy Point April 12, 2024. From left, Mercedes Hershberger, Sara Doherty, Lee’s sister Kerci Stroud, Scott Stroud, Lee, Dan Kirk, Nick Hambridge and Renae Gregg. 

Lee Marcello is 107 days in and counting

Lee Marcello of East Greenwich started participating in Dry January a few years ago, a welcome ritual after the excesses of the holidays. This past January, he decided to add cold plunging. It sounded like there were some good health benefits and, sure, he could plunge once a week through January. 

After that first plunge with a friend Jan. 4, however, they decided to do it again the next day. That led to a third day, then fourth, then a week, then two weeks. Last Friday, April 12, marked Lee’s 100th plunge. Friends and family joined him at Sandy Point, his regular spot, to plunge or cheer the plungers on. 

“I look forward to it every day,” Lee said. “There’s a physical exhilaration of going into something so extreme. The benefits are real and I experience them every day.  I feel more mentally sharp, less stressed . . . my mood and focus is enhanced, I have reduced muscle soreness. I encourage anyone who has never cold plunged to give it a try. Grab a friend, it’ll make it that much easier and you won’t regret it.”

The water temperature in January is around 41 degrees. Believe it or not, the water only gets colder in February, with an average temperature of 38 degrees. It’s only slightly better in March, averaging 39 to 40 degrees. The warming trend starts to speed up in April, with the temperature April 17 a balmy 48 degrees!

The cold is the point. According to Lee, it is almost meditative, especially when he’s alone.  “You’ve got to focus on your breathing and not panic,” he said. “So that’s the mental piece. It can be just so peaceful out there.” 

That peace has been welcome. 

Lee’s partner, Amanda Rubin, founder of the She & Me Collective, passed away last June after a swift bout of breast cancer. Lee said he has been surrounded by a huge support system of family, friends and the local community. 

“The connections with people, just trying to stay active, whether that’s working out, going plunging, seeing my friends and my family – things like that just help,” he said. 

The cold plunges in particular are a great way to clear his head, he said. 

There has been a social aspect to the plunging as well. It turns out, Lee has become a bit of a pied piper through his plunges, inviting people to join him. He has around five or more people who join him on most occasions, including friends, family and members of the local community. “You can’t just help but scream or laugh when you plunge as a group,” he said.

And, he’s managed to find a way to plunge even when he’s been traveling – including locating a small pond in Vermont and a beach in Barcelona, so he has not missed a day. The plan for now is to keep plunging daily. 

“Amanda’s been an emotional driving factor in all this,” said Lee. “I do think of her, especially when I’m alone.”

Would she be plunging? 

“I think Amanda would try it at least once,” he said. “After that, she would gladly watch from the sideline. She never liked to miss out on anything.”

Lee Marcello, second from left, celebrated his 100th plunge April 12 with (from left) friends Dan Kirk, Sara Doherty, Nick Hambridge, and brother-in-law Scott Stroud. 

Lee Marcello and Amanda Rubin in 2016. Submitted photo

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Bruce Mastracchio
Bruce Mastracchio
April 20, 2024 8:00 am

BRRR! Way to go, Lee. Keep it up.


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