The modern world is all about convenience and comfort, and a nice hot shower is no exception. It loosens the muscles, soothes the skin, and leaves you relaxed. Unfortunately – like many modern comforts – it prevents us from benefits our ancestors enjoyed without even knowing they enjoyed them.
A shower below 70 degrees can be considered “cold”, although the colder the water the more the benefits. It can improve:
Circulation/Inflammation – Just like an ice pack on an injured area, a cold shower enables blood to reach your cells, aiding in recovery, decreasing post-workout muscle soreness, and facilitating recovery all over your body. It also aids in clearing of your lymphatic system and improving your immune system.
Healthy Hair & Skin – Not sold solely on the anti-inflammatory properties? Cold water both facilitates hair and skin regeneration. It also prevents us from losing too many of our natural skin oils as we shower.
Elevated Mood & Reduced Stress – Cold showers lower uric acid and boost glutathione in the blood, helping reduce stress.
Weight Loss Stimulation – There are 2 types of fat in the body: white and brown fat. White fat is made up of lipids, and is the fat we don’t want. Brown fat (also called adipose tissue) contains far more mitochondria than white fat, and is activated when you get cold. It maintains our body temperature and burns calories to produce heat.
Instant Alertness – There are physiological reasons for this, but consider taking a cold shower and not being 100% awake afterwards. This to me goes hand-in-hand with improved mood. Prior to cold showers, I typically practiced meditation at the beginning of the day to center myself. I haven’t had to do that at all since I started cold showers.
I began taking cold showers in February, starting at 30 seconds and ultimately reaching the goal of 2:30 after increasing my time :15 each week. While the initial shock of cold water doesn’t subside, within 20 seconds the shock becomes both invigorating and therapeutic.