Do you enjoy taking long hot showers and baths? Letting the hot water warm up your body and your muscles while you get lost in your thoughts and under all the steam surrounding you? Wow..I actually got zoned out just writing that, haha!
I think most of us love the power of a hot shower because we got completely used to it. Furthermore, because of this feeling of comfort we refuse to even think about taking a cold shower. We don’t like feeling cold so getting cold on purpose is a bit counterintuitive, isn’t it?
However, have you ever seen or heard about those ‘crazy’ Scandinavians that go from sauna straight into the ice cold lake? While it may sound silly to us who love staying in our comfort zone, cold baths/showers have actually been practiced for centuries. Some cultures used cold water as a part of a religious ceremony or spiritual cleansing.
If you’re into sport or working out you have probably noticed by now that many athletes get into a bath filled with ice after their workout. They do this in order to speed up the recovery from intense workouts and/or injuries. There are many cold shower benefits to humans, both physically and mentally. Stick around to read what they are and by the time you’re finished you’ll want to go take a cold shower 😉
Cold Shower Benefits
INCREASED MENTAL ALERTNESS & ENERGY.
Once you step in a cold shower, you will start to breathe heavily and rapidly. Your heart rate will increase as well as your oxygen intake. It might sound a little scary at the moment, but remember, you’re in it for just 5 minutes. Increase in your oxygen intake and heart rate will result in a rush of blood throughout your entire body. This alone will give you a natural dose of energy for the day.
Your body is warm, the water is cold. Because your body does its best to keep you warm it will start sending blood to your organs as cold water hits your body. This also leads arteries to pump blood more efficiently while at the same time boosting our overall heart health. Another great way to stimulate circulation is to alternate between hot and cold water during your shower.
HEALTHY SKIN AND HAIR.
As you all know by now, hot water dries out our skin and hair. On the other hand, cold water tightens cuticles and pores as it constricts blood flow. This stops dirt from getting in. As for your hair, cold water can make it appear stronger, shinier and overall healthier.
REDUCES STRESS & HELPS CONTROL EMOTIONS.
I don’t know how, but cold showers have some sort of magic effect on your mood. Some studies have shown that during cold shower part of your brain (the one in charge of your emotions) is stimulated. In addition, something called “the blue spot” is stimulated as well. “The blue spot” is the brain’s primary source of noradrenaline.
Noradrenaline is a neurotransmitter that regulates your mood and behaviour and plays a role in alleviating depression. Furthermore, cold shower can reduce stress, boost your mood and calm you down. If you haven’t tried it yet then next time you’re pissed off or feeling anxious just let the cold water bring you back to life.
AIDS IN WEIGHT LOSS.
Cold showers can promote fat loss and you’re probably asking yourself ‘how’? There are two types of fat in our body: white fat and brown fat. White fat is known to be bad. It’s the kind of fat we’re all trying to get rid of. As you all know fat accumulates in our bodies when we eat more calories than we burn. This type of fat is white fat.
On the other hand, brown fat is good. It generates heat to keep us warm. Brown fat is activated when our bodies are exposed to extreme cold. Therefore, brown fat is activated when we take a cold shower and it makes our bodies burn more calories in order to keep us warm.
According to studies people who took daily cold showers saw an increase in white blood cells as opposed to people who took hot showers. White blood cells are involved in protecting our bodies against infectious diseases. Training your body to endure cold showers will boost your immunity and therefore your body will respond better to fighting infections and viruses.
SPEEDS UP MUSCLE RECOVERY.
Like I mentioned before, you have probably seen athletes take ice baths after their training session. They do this so they can recover faster and train harder the next day. However, you don’t need to go all pro here and require an ice bath for yourself.
If you go hard in the gym, a simple cold shower could be very useful to you as it can help prevent muscle soreness. In addition, cold shower will improve your circulation and help remove some lactic acid.
MAKES YOU FEEL LIKE A BADASS.
This needn’t no explanation.
Getting Ready For It
Taking a cold shower is easier said than done. If you’re a person that doesn’t like stepping out of their comfort zone then just thinking about cold shower might make you feel slightly afraid and uncomfortable. However, it doesn’t have to be like that so here are a few simple tips to gain courage for a cold shower!
GRADUALLY LOWER THE TEMPERATURE.
In order to prepare yourself for a cold shower you don’t have to start off cold. Start with a nice warm shower, lather and as you’re rinsing gradually lower the temperature until it’s as cold as it gets. On your first try, try to stand under cold water for one minute.
FEET & HANDS FIRST.
Did you ever go for a swim but the water was too cold for your liking? So, what did you do then (except running back to your towel)? I know I always got my feet wet first and then splashed the water on my arms and legs. My torso and back were the last body parts to get wet. I saw many people do this so I started doing it too. There’s a good reason for it though.
Your feet adjust to the temperature the fastest. The next are your hands and arms. So by this point, you already experienced the cold and your body won’t be in too big of a shock. As you start washing your torso and back you will start breathing heavily and involuntarily. Millions of nerve fibers are located throughout your spine which is why you will feel a lot of sensations. On the other hand, when you get out of the shower you will feel awesome, awake and in a much better mood!
Gradually lowering the temperature and starting from your feet are the only ways you could really prepare yourself physically. However, you can do things to become mentally stronger. For example, make it a challenge to take cold showers for a month. If after 30 days you don’t notice any benefits and still dislike it, then decide whether you still wanna keep going or not.
Even though ‘taking a cold shower’ doesn’t sound so scary it’s a big obstacle for most of us. However, I think we should all step outside our comfort zone for once and do something that we will benefit from. A cold shower is an easy way to start and who knows what other brave things it will enable you to do! Let me know in the comments below if you decided to take the plunge and how it felt,