Let’s be honest, we all love a roasting hot shower in the morning to begin our day or in the evening before we go to bed.
However, have you ever thought of what kind of benefits a cold shower can bring? The answer is quite a lot in fact.
Below we’ll guide you through 9 of the best.
Benefit 1) Improve Skin & Hair
Unlike hot showers that dry your skin and strip away its natural oils, cold showers actually tighten your cuticles and pores which in turn temporarily reduces the ingress of pollution in the skin.
Similarly, cold showers help aid in closing your hairs cuticles allowing the hair to reflect more light, which results in serious shine.
Benefit 2) Increase Alertness
The moment you step into a cold shower you’ll immediately notice a natural response to take deep breaths as your body comes to terms with the shock.
Deep breathing dramatically increases our overall oxygen intake, releasing a rush of blood through our entire body, which helps keep us warm.
This process provides us with a great natural dose of energy – the perfect way to start the day.
Benefit 3) Improve Sleep
Ironically, just like cold showers are a great way of increasing your alertness and waking you up in the morning, they are also the secret to an incredible night’s sleep.
Our body temperature naturally drops when we’re asleep, so with some cold therapy we’re effectively triggering our sleep signals.
Be aware, a pre-bedtime cold shower may mean you doze off 10/20 minutes later, but it will result in a much more deeper and restful sleep.
Benefit 4) Relieve Depression
One of the most significant and potentially life-changing benefits of cold showers is their role in combating depression.
A study by Dr. Nikolai Shevchuk in 2008 noted the following:
“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.”
Moreover, many of you may be familiar with The Wim Hof Method which also supports the hypothesis that subjection to the cold can help treat depression as well as many other illnesses.
Benefit 5) Strengthens Immune System
Cold showers have also been linked to bolstering our immune systems.
When cold water hits our body, it increases blood circulation and stimulates the production of immune cells which help fight things such as flu and common cold.
On top of this, cold showers can also lower blood pressure and clear blocked arteries.
Benefit 6) Increased Will Power/Sense Of Accomplishment
It may sound silly, but whether you’re a first-timer or long-time pro, taking a cold shower takes willpower.
Voluntarily doing something that both your mind and body are resistant to requires a tremendous amount of courage and mental strength. Committing to it on a daily basis also takes huge discipline.
Willpower, courage, mental strength and discipline are all amazing attributes to have at your disposal that you can use in every other area of your life.
Benefit 7) Stimulate Weightless
Maybe a rather less-obvious benefit of cold showers is that they can increase metabolism and help contribute to weight loss.
As humans, there are two types of fat tissues:
- Brown Fat – The ‘good’ fat which helps keep us warm.
- White Fat – The ‘bad’ fat that is stored when we consume more calories than we need which leads to obesity.
So, when taking a cold shower, we increase the brown fat activity in order to generate heat. Therefore, the calories used to maintain body temperature result in weight loss.
In fact, a study conducted in 2009 found that exposure to cold temperatures increases brown fat by fifteen times, which can result in 9 pounds of weight loss in a single year.
Benefit 8) Boost Fertility In Men
Ever wondered why a man’s testes hang outside the body? Well the answer is because they need to be cooler than the temperature inside the body in order to produce sperm.
So, unlike hot showers which can potentially have a negative impact on sperm count, cold showers have been proven to actually increase fertility.
In fact, a study done by the University of California San Francisco found that when men eliminated their exposure to 30 minutes of wet heat each week, their sperm count increased by an enormous 491%!
Benefit 9) Ease Stress
That’s right, cold showers can ease stress levels.
When we immerse ourselves in cold water, we evoke a stress response (also known as the ‘fight-or-flight’ response) which is a physiological reaction we experience when encountering a threat that we feel we do not have the resources to deal with.
This reaction results in our heart rate, blood pressure and breathing rate all increasing and stress hormones are released which leads to a process we call ‘hardening’.
So, by taking a cold shower regularly, whether on a daily or weekly basis, your nervous system gradually gets used to handling moderate levels of stress, thus the stress response is reduced.
For those that are used to indulging in hot and steamy showers, then even just the thought of turning the dial and switching to cold will make you shiver.
However, while cold showers might sound a ludicrous way to start the day and probably not how you’d imagine ending it, they provide a substantial amount of benefits to both your mind and body – and when we look and feel better, we tend to perform better.
Don’t just take our word for it though – take the plunge (pun intended) and see for yourself just how much they can enhance both your morning and evening routines – and ultimately your life.