A cold shower might sound unappealing, but we've 12 shocking benefits that might change your mind about giving them a go! I'm willing to bet you'll be a convert by the end of this article
Training in the heat: Step 1: Drink Better Fuel. Step 2: Jump into a cold shower!
Cold showers – are you serious?
Before we delve into the myriad of benefits – and in anticipation of keeping of you who’ll immediately take the stance “whatever the benefits, they’re not enough to justify a cold shower” - here are some tips to make the experience more pleasurable (read: less unappealing!).
- Tip #1: Start with a normal shower and reduce the temperature for a minute before reverting to warm. Do this a couple of times during your shower
- Tip #2: Have a normal shower but this time finish with 60 – 90 seconds under the cool tap
- Tip #3: Dive in and go cold from the off. Psych yourself up and know you’ll feel great afterwards. Remember, it’s only the first 10 seconds that are hard. Keep at it for 4 – 8 minutes before reaping the benefits for the rest of the day.
Now, let’s take a look at the 12 reasons you need to take a cold shower
Cold shower benefits #1: Boosts immunity
Cold water triggers anti-inflammatory norepinephrine release and “red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets count increased significantly” according to this study.
Another study found winter swimmers had “an improved adaptation to oxidative stress and better tackled inflammation" [which is at the heart of all chronic diseases].
Another stated “A moderate stress such as cold water swimming can raise the tolerance of the body to potentially injurious events”.
It might sound unappealing but even just a few seconds under the cold tap can bring huge benefits
Cold shower benefits #2: Reduces depression
Although the hard science behind this isn’t totally conclusive, it makes a lot of sense. A study by the University School of Medicine, Richmond posits:
“Exposure to cold is known to activate the sympathetic nervous system and increase the blood level of beta-endorphin and noradrenaline and to increase synaptic release of noradrenaline in the brain as well. Additionally, due to the high density of cold receptors in the skin, a cold shower is expected to send an overwhelming amount of electrical impulses from peripheral nerve endings to the brain, which could result in an anti-depressive effect”.
Another study showed depressive symptoms were relieved in those who took two or three 5-minute showers per week.
Cold shower benefits #3: Boost metabolism
We see an increase in metabolosm from people who take a daily cold shower for one main reason: there’s increased activation in brown adipose tissue – good fat – which is used to generate heat and insulate us against the cold. It’s the type of fat we want and kicking it into action boosts metabolism.
An outdoor shower will also do the trick
Cold shower benefits #4: Less time off work
One study in the Netherlands involving 3,000 participants found those who finished their daily shower with a 30 - 90 second blast of cold water were 29% less absent than their colleagues after just 30-days of the trial.
It speaks volumes that two-thirds of those who completed the study continued with their daily cold shower once the trial ended.
Cold shower benefits #5: Improves muscle recovery
Cold water immersion for sports performance is well documented and widely practiced amongst athletes who repeatedly break muscle and need rapid recovery.
Athletes typically sit in an ice bath for 7 – 14 minutes to reduce inflammation and stimulate recovery. The ice bath causes blood vessels to constrict which helps reduce swelling and trauma.
Another component of muscle recovery is protein intake. It's one thing putting in the hard work in the gym or on the trails, but recovery is just as key. A cold shower can help optimse this process
Cold shower benefits #6: Improves blood circulation
When you take a cold shower, your body naturally increases blood flow in a bid to keep organs warm. Improved blood flow has a multitude of widely understood health benefits.
Cold shower benefits #7: You’ll feel energised
A cold shower stimulates your sympathetic nervous system. This is the system responsible for our fight-or-flight response to danger or a threatening event (as a cold shower can sometimes feel). But this response triggers a hormone release which is felt as an adrenaline rush and leaves you buzzing.
A cold shower reduces chronic fatigue
Cold shower benefits #8: Reduce chronic fatigue
Although causes of chronic fatigue syndrome are not fully understood, there appears to be a strong link between it and insufficient hypothalamus function, which cold water exposure has been shown to reverse.
On a purely subjective level, there’s no doubt that a cold shower is an energising way to start the day.
Cold shower benefits #9: Boost fertility
It’s an old wives’ tale, but there’s evidence supporting the claim that high water temperature exposure – like baths, Jacuzzis and hot showers – reduce fertility.
In short, men’s testicles need cool environment to operate optimally.
Hot water also decreases testosterone so if you’re looking for a T-boost, a daily cold shower gets you on the right track.
Cold shower benefits #10: Wakes you up
Of all effects, this is the one we most readily feel. Regardless of the countless health benefits, a cold shower will certainly make you more alert at the start of the day.
After a nights slumber, your body often needs a kick to start firing on all cylinders and a cold shower is the perfect prescription.
A cold shower will raise you from your slumber
Cold shower benefits #11: Makes you more attractive
Well, it’s been shown to improve your hair and skin. You can actually feel it – in a cold shower your skin becomes more taught. That feeling is your pores contracting.
Furthermore, cold water doesn’t wash away natural oils on your skin like warm water does, as Dr Jessica Krant confirms: “excessively hot water will strip healthy natural oils from your skin too quickly”.
Cold shower benefits #12: You’ll sleep better
If you prefer your shower at the end of the day, you’ll enjoy improve sleep after a cool shower. We know how important sleep is for athletes and the general population and, taken one hour before bed, a cold shower will lower your core temperature and relax your mind.
Cold shower benefits – conclusion
A cold shower is one daily habit that we can totally get on board with.
Another (possibly less shocking) way to boost health, longevity and endurance with a simple daily habit is by consuming one spoonful of our Ultimate Daily Greens. Mixed with water our Greens taste amazing. What’s more, they’re 100% natural and are a cost-effective way of increasing your nutrient intake.
Ultimate Daily Greens – another daily habit to improve health and fitness
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