Today I’m going to talk about one of my favorite habits I’ve adopted in the last year or so – cold showers. There are a ton of health benefits from cold showers, which I’ll get into. All health benefits aside, cold showers just make you feel great! That might sound hard to believe, but you’ll have to see for yourself. If you aren’t too excited to give cold showers a shot, maybe you’ll be convinced after reading about the many health benefits.
The Health Benefits
There have been numerous studies done on the benefits of cold showers and cold temperature exposure, all around the world. The following are just the most common and most proven examples of the health benefits of taking cold showers.
Like anything, you have to try it for yourself to see what you can gain from them. I love them because they wake me up and make me feel energized, focused and ready to take on the day.
Just to be clear, a cold shower is not a cool shower. A cold shower is cold enough that the body starts shivering uncontrollably. (This shivering helps kick start the immune system and metabolic system)
Now that we have an understanding, let’s get to the benefits before you change your mind about all of this.
Improved Blood Circulation
You will notice this immediately, assuming the water is cold enough.
As a natural defense mechanism, when you are exposed to cold temperature your body rushes blood to your vital organs to keep them warm.
You body immediately starts circulating blood more efficiently as a result.
Once you step out of the shower you will actually feel warmer on the inside, while the surface of your skin is still cold.
Increased Immune Function
This benefit has been studied numerous times as well.
One often-cited study showed that individuals who took daily cold showers had a higher levels of white blood cells, blood plasma, T helper cells and lymphocytes.
Remember, the immune system not only fights off illness but also helps the body recover from physical exercise as well.
Increased Metabolic Rate (Fat Loss)
The cold temperature forces your body to regulate its own temperature. This is what gets your metabolism going and you definitely feel it. In fact, I get hungry after cold showers sometimes.
You’re actually burning calories by taking a cold shower because the body requires a lot of energy to regulate temperature.
Boost in Testosterone Levels
Don’t expect to step out of the shower and slay dragons, although you’ll feel capable of it.
According to a study in 1993 by the Thrombosis Research Institute in England, there is a correlation between taking cold showers and higher testosterone levels. As far as I know, scientists haven’t solved the exact cause of this.
However, most guys will attest to the fact that you feel like more of a man after enduring an arctic shower.
Healthier Skin and Hair
Hot water dries out your skin and hair.
Cold water closes your pores and makes your skin soft to the touch and allows you to avoid being itchy or ashy.
Cold water also makes your hair softer and gives it a natural shine.
Decrease in Inflammation
Athletes use ice baths to recover from training and reduce DOMS, delayed onset muscle soreness.
Although not quite as intense as an ice bath, you can still get those benefits from a cold shower.
The cold temperature causes your veins to become constricted, forcing toxins out. Then when you warm back up your veins are filled with fresh, nutrient-rich blood.
Increase in Stress Tolerance
Cold showers make you tougher mentally. It’s difficult to force yourself to do something that is very uncomfortable, physically. Especially since most of us really enjoy a nice, relaxing, steamy shower.
The improvement in immune function, blood circulation and metabolic rate all arm your body against the stresses of everyday life.
Tips to Get Started
It can be intimidating at first, but once you start experiencing the benefits it’s hard to go back to hot showers.
Here are some tips I’ve discovered that make it easier for me:
- Start with a warm body – Cold showers after a workout are much easier. The cold water actually feels great after an intense workout. You can always do some pushups, jumping jacks, body squats or whatever to get your body warmed up first. This isn’t necessary once you get used to cold showers, but it helps at first.
- Don’t jump straight into the cold – Start off with warm water first and decrease the temp as you wash yourself. I keep it pretty cool the whole time and then blast the coldest setting for the last few minutes.
- Don’t start with HOT water – The hotter the water is, the harder it will be to adjust to a cooler temperature. I suggest starting at the coolest temperature you find comfortable and then decreasing from there.
- Keep calm and accept it – You’re going to be shaking uncontrollably, you’ll find yourself short of breath as if your lungs have shrunk and by the way you’ll be freezing your ass off. Just relax and accept it. The more you can relax your mind, the easier it will be.
- Breathe Deep – Part of relaxing your mind means controlling your breath. Your body will want to take short breaths, but you’ll feel better if you relax and focus on breathing deeply and slowly.
Like I said, it isn’t easy at first but it won’t take you long to get the hang of it.
Also, it depends where you live. If you live in an extremely cold environment then you might not even need to take cold showers to get these benefits. If I was cold all day, I would probably take hot showers.
However, it stays pretty hot for most of the year here in Texas so I take cold showers year round.
When it comes to cold showers, the hype is real. Cold showers are a staple in my recovery program along with foam rolling and salt baths. They aren’t for everyone, but you might surprise yourself when you start to enjoy them.
Who else enjoys cold showers? I want to hear from you, let me know in the comments what benefit you most enjoy.
Until Next Time,
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