The Great Freeze: 5 Cold Shower Benefits
Cold showers aren’t for the faint of heart (literally and figuratively). But they’re an incredible way to boost the immune system and metabolism. This article explains some benefits of taking cold showers.
Slowly turn the water temperature down until it’s 20°C (70°F). Continue to drop the temperature to your comfort level. Try to take cold showers once or twice a week for a few minutes until you’ve developed a tolerance.
5 Cold Shower Benefits
1. Muscle Recovery
Most people prefer to take a cold shower after a workout. While that may help decrease the body’s core temperature, scientific investigations do not conclude that cold showers help with DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness). But when showering for muscle relaxation, one study showed that taking a cold shower more than 48 hours after a workout helps the most.(1)
For more post-workout recovery advice, check out this blog post.
2. Improved Blood Circulation
Regular cold water immersion causes the veins nearest your skin to circulate blood more quickly.(2) Increased circulation leads to a higher oxygen requirement in the body. You’ll start inhaling more deeply to oxygenate all body parts, including the brain. An oxygenated brain is an awake brain!
If you have a hard time getting going in the morning, try taking a cold shower. If it helps, turn on the kettle before you shower. Then, you’ll have a hot drink to look forward to!
Try alternating between hot and cold water, especially if you can’t fathom stepping directly into a cold water shower. This method is also helpful if you have heart issues and cannot handle the immediate shock of an icy shower.
How to take a contrast shower:
- Rinse off with warm water.
- Once warm, step away from the water and turn the shower to cold.
- Start on the right leg: rinse the outer right side of your ankle with cold water. That is the spot farthest away from your heart. Slowly move the cold water up your right leg until you reach your hip. Then, repeat on the left leg.
- Next, rinse your arms. Move upwards from the back of your right hand to your shoulder, staying on the lateral side of your arm. Then loop back down via your armpit, along the inside of your arm. Do the same thing on the left arm.
- Take the plunge! Rinse your entire body once with cold water.
- Repeat steps #3 and #4 with warm water.
- Rinse the entire body one more time with cold water.
3. Stronger Immune System
There are many natural ways to boost the immune system. Now, you may be able to add a cold shower to the list! One research study showed that people who took regular cold showers were less likely to feel sick and to call in sick to work. The research did not conclude that cold showers actually create a more robust immune system(3). But, people felt healthier after taking one. Apparently, getting through an icy shower is enough to make people feel resilient and strong. Overcoming everyday challenges is a confidence booster, whether in your daily shower or daily jog.
4. Depression Treatment
A study by the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine showed that cold showers might help with symptoms of depression. Scientists theorize that being momentarily cold sends more depression-easing electrical impulses to the brain. There’s still more research to be done on this theory. So long as you don’t have any underlying medical issues, give it a try!
5. Metabolic Boost
Humans have two types of fat: brown fat and white fat. Brown fat is necessary for our daily health and functioning; it also keeps us warm. A study in mice showed that activating brown fat increased metabolic functioning. And what’s true in mice may also be true in humans!(4)
However, both mice and men are also triggered to eat more when they get cold. So while your cold shower in the morning might give you a metabolic boost, it won’t help you lose weight if you compensate with extra calories. Here are five breakfast ideas that won’t break your metabolic bank!
But Are Cold Showers Harmful?
It’s important to note that cold showers are contraindicated for some folks. People who have issues with high blood pressure, a disease triggered by a cold shock response, a weak heart, or past hypothermia should avoid cold showers. Always consult with a physician before undertaking any dramatic changes to your lifestyle!(5)
Just Try To Be Cool
While the benefits of cold baths are still being debated in scientific communities, society believes strongly in their power. Research shows that cold showers can increase blood circulation, trigger neurological responses, and make people feel healthier. And the jolt will definitely wake you up in the morning! Cold showers might boost the metabolism.
So, if you’re healthy and curious, give cold showers a try! Let us know in the comments below if you think that they work.