Most people who aren’t crazy take warm showers. The idea of jumping under a cold shower every morning doesn’t sound very appealing but the physical and mental health benefits of taking cold showers regularly might make you want to give it a try.
In this article, I will list all the mental and physical benefits of taking cold showers, as well as tips to get started and learn to love this icy goodness. I know, it’s not easy to be part of the cold shower team, but totally worth it!
Benefit #1: Increased alertness
One of the first effects you can feel from a cold shower is better alertness. This is because cold showers increase the heart rate and blood pressure and elevate your respiratory rate.
Cold showers also increase the body’s metabolism because it has to work harder to maintain a stable temperature. However, you can’t really rely on cold showers only to lose weight. Cold showers rarely last more than 5 to 10 minutes so it is not enough to burn calories. Nonetheless, cold showers are highly invigorating and will most likely make you more physically active.
Benefit #2: Stronger immune system
An interesting study in the Journal PLOS One found that people who take cold showers are 29% less likely to call in sick for work or school.
The research found that even though people do not report less sick days, cold showers might make a person’s illness feel less severe. which is why they do not call in sick.
Interestingly, the research did not find a difference between the people who took cold showers for 30, 60, or 90 seconds. This shows that cold water triggers the immune system regardless of the duration. So you don’t have to suffer more than 30 seconds!
Benefit #3: Mood booster
Although cold showers do not replace prescribed treatment for depression, research has found that they activate the sympathetic nervous system and increase the availability of neurotransmitters such as norepinephrine and endorphins, in other words, the “feel-good” chemicals.
Benefit #4: Reduces inflammation and pain
A cold shower after a workout will help relieve exertional hyperthermia. It reduces inflammation in muscles, tendons and joints.
Ice baths are also a recovery technique that many athletes use. You can read about it more here.
Contrast water therapy (starting with cold water, then hot) can help enhance recovery and reduce feelings of fatigue.
Moreover, cold water can have local anaesthetic-like effects. Blood vessels constrict which helps reduce any swelling and oedema causing pain. Cold water also slows the speed at which nerves transmit pain signals to the brain.
With all that said, I am sure you don’t have any reason not to start taking cold showers from now on. It can only make your life better! So here are a few tips to get you started and feel the benefits for yourself.
Tip #1: Your shower doesn’t have to be cold for the entire time.
Some people prefer to jump right in, but if you’re not comfortable with this, you can start with a warm shower and switch to a cold stream for 30 seconds right at the end, or alternate between warm and cold.
Tip #2: Gradually lower the temperature
Let your body gradually adapt to the colder temperature.
Tip #3: Use caution
Some people should exercise caution when taking cold showers. This includes people with weaker immune systems and those with serious heart conditions, such as congestive heart failure. This is because the sudden changes to body temperature and heart rate may overwhelm the body.
Tip #4: Cold doesn’t mean freezing
It’s up to you te determine what’s cold enough. A temperature of 20 degrees Celcius is a good start.