For the majority of people out there, you probably see taking a cold shower as some horrific experience you would never voluntarily put yourself though; it’s only something you endure when the hot water is broken or when someone pranks you by flushing the toilet when you’re showering. I know that when these untimely events happen you probably just hide in the corner of the shower or not even take one at all, but I’m here to tell you should actually take to heart those signs from the shower-gods.
As someone who has been taking cold showers for over a year now, I’ve noticed a drastic change in my temperament by just starting my morning with this new routine. I started dabbling in this ritual after reading some articles and scientific studies stating many various benefits cold showers offer and now am a regular cold shower taker/survivor. The benefits of this daunting activity include:
1. Stimulates Weight Loss There are two kinds of fat in your body: white fat and brown fat. White fat is the bad fat and brown fat is the good fat. White fat is the body fat we all know and struggle to get rid of. When we consume more calories than our body needs to function and we don’t burn those calories for energy, they are stored as white fat, which tends to accumulate at your waist, lower back, neck, and thighs. Brown fat is the good guy you might have never even heard of, and its function is to generate heat to keep your body warm. Here’s the good news: when brown fat is activated due to extreme cold, it burns calories to keep you warm, which could provide a helpful assist in your weight loss plan. How much of an assist? Scandinavian researchers found that exposure to cold temperatures increased the metabolic rate of brown fat by fifteen fold, which could help a person drop nine pounds in a year if sustained.
2. Refines Hair and Skin W Taking cold showers is one of the most natural ways to maintain and strengthen your hair and skin.. Hot water has the tendency to dry out our skin, so it’s best to use cold water to tighten your cuticles and pores, which will prevent them from getting clogged. Cold water can “seal” the pores in the skin and scalp too, preventing dirt from getting in.
Jessica Krant, board-certified dermatologist, told The Huffington Post that ice-cold or lukewarm water can help our skin and prevent it from being stripped of its healthy natural oils too quickly. Cold water only temporarily tightens skin as it constricts blood flow, but it does not shrink pores. When it comes to haircare, cold showers can make hair appear shinier, stronger, and healthier by flattening hair follicles, and increasing their ability to grip the scalp.
3. Increases Alertness Taking a cold shower in the morning, and feeling cold water pour down over our body seems more horrifying than soothing. However, the deep breathing in response to our body’s shock helps us keep warm, as it’s increases our overall oxygen intake. Thus, our heart rate will also increase, releasing a rush of blood through our entire body. This gives us a natural dose of energy for the day. As one of the few weird people in the world who don’t drink coffee, taking cold showers is something I rely on to kickstart my morning.
4. Improves Immune System and Circulation Remember how cold showers speed up your metabolic rate, which helps you lose fat? The increase of this rate activates your immune system, which releases virus-fighting white blood cells that will help you get sick less frequently. Cold showers also increase your overall blood circulation, which can help you avoid hypertension and the hardening of arteries.
5. Speeds Up Muscle Soreness and Recovery We have all seen athletes taking ice baths after training to reduce muscle soreness, but a quick cold shower after breaking a sweat at the gym can be just as effective, especially in relieving delayed-onset muscle soreness. A 2009 study analyzing 17 trials involved over 360 people who either rested or immersed themselves in cold water after resistance training, cycling, or running. It found that 24-minute cold water baths were effective in relieving sore muscles one to four days after exercises with a water temperature of 50 to 59 degrees Fahrenheit, or 10 to 15 degrees Celsius. However, some studies involved colder temperatures.
6. Eases Stress Jumping into the shower without letting it heat up, or going into the ocean without slowly acclimating to it, can help promote hardening, increasing tolerance to stress, and even disease. A 1994 study found a drastic decrease in uric acid levels during and following exposure to a cold stimulus. There was also an increase in gluthathione, an antioxidant that keeps all other antioxidants performing at their optimal levels. The participants, who were 10 healthy people who swam regularly in ice-cold water during the winter, adapted to repeated oxidative stress.
7. Relieves Depression Cold showers have been shown to relieve depression symptoms due to the intense impact of cold receptors in the skin, which send an overwhelming amount of electrical impulses from the peripheral nerve endings to the brain. Thus, it produces an antidepressive effect, and boosts moods, making it a pick-me-up. A 2008 study found that cold hydrotherapy has an analgesic effect, and does not appear to have noticeable side effects or cause dependence. This treatment included one to two cold showers of 38 degrees Fahrenheit, two to three minutes long, followed by a five-minute gradual adaptation to make the procedure less shocking.
8. Helps your wallet In the long-run, taking cold showers will lower your hot water bill, saving you a nice chunk of money over the course of the year. Who doesn’t love easy savings?!
BONUS BENEFIT: Of course one of the hardest part about taking cold showers is actually telling yourself to hop in the shower and that you won’t die. Taking cold showers will inevitably increase your determination and teach you, for lack of a better phrase, not to be a little bitch.
If you’re looking to spice up your routine a little while simultaneously reaping all of these myriad health benefits, I highly suggest you take the plunge and start bettering your life.
Source: Medical Daily