Someone may tell you to grab a cold shower to wake you up or improve your recovery after exercise. But are there any benefits to doing this?
Well, it turns out that there are some benefits of cold showers. They can improve the body’s health, fitness, and recovery. However, the aftermath of the shivers may not always be completely worth it. Whether cold showers are worth it for you will depend on the benefits that you want to gain.
So, what are the scientifically proven benefits of a cold shower? Will they work out worthwhile for you, even just now and again?
Showers Are More Than Just About Cleaning
Before we jump into the benefits of a cold shower, let me point out that showers do more than just clean the body. You’ll gain some relaxation benefits, especially depending on the scents that you use for cleaning. But there are other benefits.
Showers can help improve the look and feel of your skin. The water can help boost your weight loss efforts and protect your hair from damage. Showers aid with mood setting and can also help give you something to do.
Warm and cold showers have their benefits. Chances are you’re already opting for the warm showers, but what about the cold? Well, here are nine ways that you will benefit. Turn the heat down on your next shower and see how your health improves.
You’ll Be More Awake and Alert
You likely know that cold water helps to wake up your body. The temperature sends your body into a slight state of shock, which instantly boosts your alertness and feeling of being awake.
When you initially get hit by the cold, it feels like you can’t breathe. It’s painful to start again, which can be scary. However, this feeling is good for you in small doses.
While initially, you will take shorter breaths to help catch your breath again, you will start to take deeper ones. You inhale more oxygen, which means your organs get the air that they need. There’s this instant boost of alertness spreading throughout your body.
You will feel more pumped after getting a cold shower. Your body is ready for absolutely anything you throw at it, and your mind is working at the same pace. While all your colleagues need a boost of caffeine to get themselves ready, you’ll have already started work. By being more awake, you’re more productive, and that makes you look good for the boss.
You only need one cold shower a day to gain this benefit. Opt for a cold one on a morning to wake you up. You don’t even need to do it every day. Opt for one after a bad night’s sleep to get you back in the zone, or when you know, you have an extremely hard day coming up.
It’s Easier to Control Your Emotions
If you find it hard to control your emotions, you’ll want to consider a cold shower. The temperatures help to control your whole nervous system, making it far more resilient to anything that comes your way.
In fact, studies have shown that cold showers create a small amount of oxidative stress on your body. While large amounts of oxidative stress are bad (and you’ll use antioxidants to ease that), a small amount on a regular basis is good for you overall. Your nervous system becomes used to the levels, which means it can handle those small amounts.
The next time you feel stressed, your body will naturally be able to handle it. You won’t get flustered in a meeting, and you’ll find it easier to manage the anger and frustration you feel when something doesn’t quite go right. You’ll find it easier to think straight and manage the situation at hand, instead of giving into the fight or flight mode.
You don’t need a full cold shower to gain this benefit. Starting with a warm, relaxing one and finishing with an icy blast is an excellent way to get all the benefits from your shower in one sitting. This is something James Bond does, so it must be good, right?
You’ll Gain More Will Power
Are you struggling to build willpower in your life? Do you constantly find yourself giving into temptation or letting people walk all over you? Well, it’s time to consider a cold shower.
One of the biggest benefits noted through studies is how your willpower builds all because of an icy shower on a morning. It’s something often overlooked as a benefit though.
Willpower helps you make stronger decisions? You have the mental strength to get through the day while having the discipline to be a healthier and fitter you. Struggling with the will power to stick to the diet? It becomes easier when you add more cold showers to your day? Need help to create the gym habit? The cold shower will work.
It will be hard sticking to the use of a cold shower on a morning. This is a discipline. And if you can stick to this—which can seem like torture at the time—you can stick to anything. Add a cold shower to your morning routine, and you’ll see your willpower in other parts of your life improve.
Cold Showers Reduce Stress and Depression
This benefit can seem contradictory to number two. After all, cold showers will increase the oxidative stress in your body. Surely that means you’ll see an increase in stress.
Well, it’s because of the small increase in oxidative stress that you see a decrease in overall stress. Your nervous system gains the ability to hand more thrown at you during life. It doesn’t get as flustered or embarrassed by the slightest things, so you don’t feel as stressed when life doesn’t quite go the way as planned.
At the same time, a cold shower will increase the Glutathione in your bloodstream, while lowering the levels of uric acid. The Glutathione is a hormone that controls the amount of stress you feel. You won’t find outside forces as problematic on your stress levels.
Meanwhile, cold showers will also help to boost the levels of noradrenaline in the body. This is because the temperature of the water stimulates the part of the brain called “the blue spot.” By getting more noradrenaline, your brain releases more happy hormones into the body.
The mild electroshock therapy your body receives will also help to keep depression at bay. Your nerve endings get more electrical pulses, keeping them active and positive. You can also gain a resistance against the cold, meaning winter temperatures won’t affect you as just much.
Yes, there are studies that show all these benefits. Researchers have found that a cold blast at the end of your normal shower will help you gain the benefits.
Better Chances of Weight Loss
Did you know that being cold can help you lose more weight? It promotes the loss of fat, rather than the loss of muscle, so your weight loss is healthier too.
There are a few scientific reasons for a cold shower boosting your weight loss efforts. The first is that your body needs to burn more calories to get you warm again. Your metabolism gets a boost, so you will find it easier to create a calorie deficit.
While boosting your metabolism, your brown fat is activated. This is the good fat that helps to generate heat. Of course, by generating it to warm your body up, the calories within it are used. You end up losing more of it throughout the day. You can lose an extra 9lbs of fat over a year by added a cold shower to your day. It may not sound like a lot, but it’s worth it for doing nothing extra.
Shivering will also help to burn more calories. You’re constantly getting your muscles working, while your body tries to warm itself back up. This helps to focus on fat loss instead of any weight loss.
If you want to take this one step further, you can opt for ice baths. This is something.The 4-Hour Work Week author Tim Ferris does help his weight loss efforts. There are other benefits to ice baths, including muscle recovery after a hard workout.
Your Lymphatic System Is Drained
Commonly overlooked when it comes to your immune system is your lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is directly affected by a cold shower, but why is this so important?
Well, the lymphatic system helps to remove cellular waste. It helps to protect your body from infections, but regularly becomes blocked by toxins, chemicals, and environmental effects. When your lymphatic system is blocked, dead cells and cell waste build up in the body. The immune system can’t work effectively, and you’re more likely to suffer from a common cold.
The lymph vessels are directly exposed to the cold water, helping to improve their activity levels. Researchers have found that the vessels will contract in the cold but then relax once warmed up. The constant movement helps to flush out the waste and improve your overall health.
Your immune system is also supported. Studies have shown that by the body attempting to warm itself, the immune system is activated. It’s ready to fight off more that affects you.
The reduction of stress levels will also help your immune system. Stress hormones affect the body’s ability to create white blood cells and fight off diseases. Just by reducing the number of stress hormones in your body, you will find your whole immune system is healthier and ready to fight.
Your Hair and Skin Look Better
Showers are primarily for cleaning. You use them to get rid of the dead skin cells and remove excess oils from the skin and hair. Well, it’s time to turn down the heat! You can an instant benefit without the need for extra products on either your skin or hair.
Cold water will help to reduce the size of your pores, as your skin tightens from the temperature. Your body isn’t encouraged to release oils, so you don’t end up with a greasy look on your skin or in your hair. If you have dry skin, excess oils aren’t lost, helping to create a healthier and less painful appearance on your skin.
The skin and hair follicles will also see increased activity. Your skin latches onto your hair, meaning you will lose less. You get thicker, more luxurious locks.
If you have dyed hair, you certainly want to think about cold showers. The heat of the water will damage your hair and make the colors bleed. You end up needing more touch ups, especially if you opt for fashion colors. Cold water helps to lock in the colors to your hair, so they look vibrant and clear for longer.
You See a Boost in Circulation
Your blood will get around your body easier and quicker. Remember that cold water will boost your alertness. Not only does your breathing speed up in the cold water, but so does your heart rate. This is partially linked to the increased oxidative stress in your body. Your heart rate must increase to handle the slight increase in stress hormones.
By your heart rate increasing, the blood can spread around the body quicker. Of course, you start taking in more oxygen, so the boosted circulation will help to spread more oxygen around your whole body.
Not only do you get that sense of alertness, but your whole-body benefits. Every single organ gets more oxygen, meaning your whole health benefits from that blast of icy water.
Muscle Recovery Takes Less Time
I promised I’d cover how icy baths can improve muscle recovery. Well, it’s not just icy baths that help. Cold showers will also help to speed up the recovery process within the muscles.
The benefit is the boost to your circulation. The muscles get more oxygen and more blood so that the cells can repair quicker and more effectively. You get rid of the lactic acid build-up within the body, helping the muscles to relax and repair.
You may find that you need a mixture of hot and cold. In some cases, too much cold can be damaging. The heat will help to encourage relaxation more, as the heart rate slows down and your brain releases more happy hormones. Try alternating between the two temperatures to get the best results.
It’s Time to Add Cold Showers to Your Morning Routine
Are you ready to get an icy blast? You don’t need your whole shower to be cold to gain all the proven benefits. Start with a normal, warm shower and then switch to an icy blast at the end. Give your body a chance to get used to the cold and take deep breaths to boost the oxygen spreading around your body.
Cold showers are highly beneficial. They’re also easy to add to your morning routine. It’s time to get to work ready to tackle anything colleagues, your boss, or life wants to throw at you.