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Survival expert Bear Grylls on being the O.G. of ice baths

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Bear Grylls and co-host Jordan Conley Courtesy: TBS/Warner Bros. Discovery

While pro athletes have been using ice baths for years to tamp down inflammation and injury, dunking yourself in a tank of icy water has of late become an obsession among the celebrity set.

Stars from Kim Kardashian to Chris Hemsworth have been all over social media extolling the fitness benefits of the teeth-chattering plunges.

However, that’s old news to survival expert Bear Grylls. When he wasn’t swimming in icy rivers during his career as a British Special Forces soldier — or as part of his hit Nat Geo show Running Wild with Bear Grylls — he was doing it for his own health, he tells ABC Audio.

“I say it with pride, but I’ve been doing it for decades,” he says with a laugh. “My wife goes, ‘Oh, everybody [is] doing wild swimming in cold water now.’ But I go, ‘Do you know what, that’s great. It’s great. It’s proven to be good for you.'”

He adds, “And I think half of it is doing stuff that is challenging, it’s difficult, it’s going to be good for you. It’s why I’ve always loved the outdoors. It builds us. It’s not always fun being cold and tired and scared and wet and hungry. But you come through those storms and they don’t last forever.”  

Bear will be back on TV on May 18, in TBS’ I Survived Bear Grylls, in which he puts viewers of his past shows through their paces in simulated survival situations.

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