The benefits of cold showers are being promoted more and more, but should we really be standing under a cold shower in the middle of winter? The answer is potentially yes, the benefits are numerous, so perhaps we need to give it a go.
Taking a cold shower, or indeed ending your shower with a cold burst of water will cause stress on your body. Despite what we have been historically told, short bursts of stress can be beneficial. Studies have shown that overtime your body will adapt to cold showers, and this will help you to become more resilient to the stresses of everyday life.
They will also help with your circulation. The shock of cold water will result in your body sending blood to surround your internal organs to keep them warm. The improved circulation is great for your cardiovascular health.
It shouldn’t be a surprise that the shock of cold water helps you to become more alert. Your body will be prompted to take deep breaths, getting more oxygen into the body and decreasing levels of carbon dioxide. The resulting increased feeling of alertness should then last for the rest of the day.
Cold showers can also promote weight loss. The body contains two types of fat, brown and white. Without getting into the science, white fat is bad and brown fat is good. The body uses brown fat to generate heat and keep us warm. Cold showers increase the production of brown fat and gives us more energy throughout the day.
Hot showers have been shown to dry out your skin and hair. Cold showers have the opposite effect, closing your pores and retaining the natural oil of your skin and hair, resulting in a healthier appearance.
Research has also suggested that a cold shower can help increase your immunity levels. Regular cold showers can increase your production of white blood cells which help fight disease.
Ice baths are immensely popular with sportsmen and women as way of helping to speed up muscle recovery. A cold shower will have the same effect as it improves circulation and helps to remove lactic acid.
The benefits of cold showers are potentially huge. In addition to what we have already mentioned, they could also increase testosterone levels in men, boost sperm count, aid drainage of your lymphatic system, and potentially help with depression.
It really doesn’t matter what time of day; you choose to have your shower. First thing in the morning will leave you feeling alert and awake, last thing at night can help you get a good night’s sleep.
The entirety of your shower doesn’t need to be cold, just the last part. Aim for 30 seconds at first, gradually building up to 3 minutes and see for yourself the benefits it can have. However, do be aware that if you suffer from heart or cardiovascular disease, you should not take a cold shower as it could make your condition worse. The rest of us have no excuse!