This Is How Cold Showers Are Beneficial
We are all used to our warm and comfortable showers and often panic if for some reason our water heaters don't work or the water just turns cold. For years before inventing water heaters or other methods to have hot water baths, humans have had cold water baths. So when we discovered the means to have hot water baths, it had quickly risen up as one of the luxuries which today, however, we take for granted.
Cold water baths, though, have a slew of surprising benefits on body and mind due to which by the end of this article, you'll really consider having cold showers over hot—just as I have for months.
Why Are Cold Showers Good?
Here are all the reasons to prefer cold showers:
- Increases alertness: You've just woken up and are getting yourself through your morning routine and realized that maybe you're wearing your tee inside out, or forgot to tie your shoelaces. You have physically woken up, but mentally you're still in your wonderworld. If that's relatable, then you should really try cold showers. The moment the cold water will come in contact with your skin, it'll send a shock wave in all directions across your skin and throughout your body, electrifying anything it comes in contact with, which will result in a deeper breathing, increased oxygen intake and consequently a rush of blood in your whole body—all of which will jolt you awake with an electrifying energy to continue ahead. You'll step into your shower like a brainless zombie and come out transformed into a super-alert being. It is definitely worth a try.
- Improves blood circulation: According to Dr Joseph Mercola, a health expert, the rush of blood and the rapidly beating heart due to cold water stimulation improves overall blood circulation and heart health. It can even clear blocked arteries and lowers the blood pressure.
- Improves Immunity: A 2014 study revealed that cold water exposure activates the immune system and thereby causes an increased production of the disease-fighting white blood cells which improves the immunity considerably.
- Improves hair and skin: Certified dermatologist Jessica krant told The Huffington Post that cold water tends to tighten the pores on the skin and the cuticles of the hair, as opposed to hot water which leaves the skin dry and robs it of all its essential natural oils. The tightness will prevent any dirt to get in and clog your pores and cuticles, giving you a cleaner look and shinier, healthier and stronger hair, enhancing your beauty further at no extra cost.
- Helps in weight loss: Body fat comes in two kinds—the white fat and the brown fat. The brown fat is the good one out of the two and its purpose is to generate heat to keep our bodies warm. When you take a cold shower, the low temperature triggers the brown fat to generate more heat, which usually comes from burning the bad white fat we all hate. The bottom line is, cold showers will keep you in shape.
- Speeds up muscle recovery: If you've crawled out of your gym after a leg day, then you just know how bad muscle soreness can get and you're also aware that it doesn't go away as easily as it comes. However, if you take a cold shower instead of a hot one after your workout, then you can reduce your muscle soreness significantly and boost your recovery. A cold shower helps improve blood circulation to the muscles and thus aids in flushing out the lactic acid build up, speeding up the recovery process. Here's a hack you can use to switch back to walking on your feet quickly after a brutal leg day!
Do you dread leg days too?
- Improves tolerance to stress: Every session of a cold shower gives your body a little dose of oxidative stress. Repeated exposure results in an increased tolerance to it. Additionally, it also helps decrease the levels of uric acid and increase the levels of Glutathione in your blood—reducing stress overall. Hence, in our highly stressed lives, cold showers could come in handy.
- Helps with depression: According to Dr Nikolai Shevchuk, one of the factors causing depression is the lack of certain physiological stressors, such as brief changes in the body temperature. It implies that exposure to a lower temperature during a cold shower might help cope with or even prevent depression. Cold exposure is also known to activate the sympathetic nervous system and increases the levels of beta-endorphin and noradrenaline in the blood, which helps in relieving depression.
- Help strengthen your willpower: It is not easy to just go into the bathroom, turn your knob to cold and take a cold shower. It may sound easy but there's a lot that goes on in the head when you're about to do it. When I was starting with cold showers, I used to spend some quality 30 minutes or so debating if I should really do it. The moment you make up your mind, your brain floods with anticipation of the cold shock, which ends up delaying the shower by additional five minutes or so. Yes, my willpower was really weak, but I was stubborn. Even if it took me so long to finally take a cold shower I did stick to it and eventually, each cold shower was preceded by a decreasing 'think time.' Now, every morning, I just step into the bathroom and turn on the cold shower without thinking twice. I will really recommend cold showers when it comes to willpower because you need a lot of it to just go in and take the shock.
If you haven't already, take your first cold shower soon before answering this poll.
How easy was it to take your first cold shower?
- Saves water: All of us are guilty of taking those long warm showers at least once, in a world where water scarcity is quite on the rise. When you will switch to a cold shower, you will also decrease your shower time, thanks to it being not as comfy and cosy as a warm shower. You'll come out of the bathroom as soon as you're done with your business, saving a lot of water every day.
- Drains the lymphatic system: The lymphatic system is responsible for draining waste out from your cells to prevent infections. It can, however, get blocked at times causing frequent illnesses. When cold showers are alternated with hot showers, it helps to contract and relax the lymph vessels, unclogging them in the process and also improving your immunity.
- Increased levels of testosterone: There's a reason why the testes are located outside the body in a scrotal sac and it has to do with temperature. The testes can do their job effectively when in cooler temperature relative to the body. Hot showers, thus, inhibit the production of testosterone whereas cold showers promote. Some of the benefits of higher levels of testosterone in males include higher levels of energy, higher muscle mass and increased libido.
- Increases fertility in males: As mentioned above, a lower temperature is necessary for the testes to function at their best and lower temperature significantly increases the sperm count, increasing fertility. A 2007 study at the UCSF also showed that men who were not exposed to wet heat had a 491% increase in total motile sperm counts. Cold showers help in giving a boost in fertility.
- Helps you fall asleep quickly: A cold shower before bed lowers your body temperature and makes it easier to fall asleep.
How to Switch to Cold Showers?
Cold showers are easier said than done. What's the use of knowing all these benefits but not being able to enjoy them? Here's how you can prepare yourself to switch to a cold shower:
It is important to note that people with certain health conditions mustn't try to switch to cold showers before taking their doctor's opinion as the shock the body receives might worsen certain conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure and fever.
- Make up your mind: You should know that it is not going to be easy, but you should step into your bathroom having made your mind that no matter how challenging it would seem, you wouldn't resort to a warm shower.
- See it as a challenge: We are more likely to succeed at something difficult if we take it up as a challenge. I give you a challenge: Take a cold shower tomorrow.
- The gradual method: Start with mildly warm water and gradually transition to cold. Make sure you spend some time in the cold water.
- Just-jump-in method: When I took the challenge of taking a cold shower, I wanted to make things more challenging for me by directly starting with the cold. It wasn't easy and the anticipation of shock always kept me procrastinating. This method really helped me to overcome that issue. I used to turn the shower on and impulsively jump into the cold stream. It was important to remain in the shower and wet the body to gradually get acclimated.
Now you know everything you should about cold showers and you also have all that it takes to begin taking them regularly. I hope you walk out of the shower victorious every day! Do share your experience below.
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