If you’re like the rest of us, we prefer to take long hot baths especially during the colder months and particularly because of the colder mornings. Imagine this – you come back home after a freezing night spend out with your friends and in that moment, can you imagine something better than the simple hot shower and a hot cup of tea to warm your bones? Or is there anything better than a hot bath after a sweaty workout? You get to lay in your tub, relax and soothe your exhausted muscles with warm water. Just because the Holidays are over doesn’t mean we’ll quit on using the hot tub and what we’d give to have a hot bath all day long. Does it get any better than this? We imagine that it does not. Well… perhaps you just have to wait and see for yourselves.
So hot baths are pretty good, right? Well, it might sound crazy but the real deal is when we shower with cold water. Yes, as much as I want to say it’s a joke it’s not. Taking cold showers is actually one of the best things you can do for your health especially when you do it in the morning. Perhaps you already have a friend or two who is always talking about how great does a cold shower feel and he or she benefits greatly from it. Perhaps you never actually believed your friend, or perhaps you never got the idea to test that theory. Well, we hope that you will take the time and motivation needed to at least once, replace the good old hot shower with a freezing one!
Don’t believe us? Don’t worry, we didn’t believe it too but then science proved it to be one of the best scientific breakthroughs in recent years. Let me tell you some of the benefits. In the following article, we will discuss some of the most popular health benefits from taking a nice cold shower. Shall we start?
Benefits of cold showers
1. Wakes You Up Good!
A lot of people practice the habit of taking a shower in the morning in order to wake up, to what a hot cup of coffee follows. If you are one of those people, perhaps you will try to replace that hot shower with a cold one. Or perhaps, you will create this new habit of taking a cold shower first thing in the morning after you have read our article.
It’s no secret that a blast of ice-cold water first thing in the morning isn’t exactly calming and soothing. But what you do afterward actually makes it a good thing.
What you and your body face when you turn the hot water off and let only the cold water run is literally a shock! Enough of a shock to wake you up nice and good, that is an even perhaps better than any cup of coffee. You see, the deep breathing in response to our body’s shock helps us keep warm, as it increases our overall oxygen intake. Thus, our heart rate will also increase, releasing a rush of blood through our entire body. This gives us a natural dose of energy for the day.
So shiver as much as you can. It’s good for you.
2. Revs Up Your Fat Burning Engine
Here’s a new trend to break the way we think of fat burning. There’s such a thing called “Cold Thermogenesis” and involves taking a long soaking under ice-cold water. It sounds like some World War torture, right? It’s torture alright, for your fat.
Brown adipose tissue, or BAT, is primarily found around your collar bones, sternum, neck, and upper back. It is a unique kind of fat that can generate heat by burning the regular white fat (adipose tissue) found on your stomach, butt, hips, and legs.
BAT is usually activated when exposed to extremely cold temperatures and nothing is colder than directly exposing your body to ice-cold water.
We’re not messing with you. A 2013 study found that frequent exposure to the cold might be an acceptable and economic manner to increase energy expenditure and may contribute to counteracting the current obesity epidemic. ((van der Lans, A. A., Hoeks, J., Brans, B., Vijgen, G. H., Visser, M. G., Vosselman, M. J., … van Marken Lichtenbelt, W. D. (2013). Cold acclimation recruits human brown fat and increases nonshivering thermogenesis. The Journal of Clinical Investigation, 123(8): 3395–3403. doi: 10.1172/JCI68993))
3. Boosts Muscle Recovery
You know big athletes always have ice packs all over their body after a rough game? Or how when a player’s down, they ice his injured muscles? That’s the same thing with cold showers especially after a hard day at the gym. So next time you undergo a heavy, sweaty workout at the gym, think twice before you hit the hot, steamy shower on. Instead, try a nice, soothing cold shower instead. Your muscles will thank you for it!
In fact, this 2010 study says a cold compression is a superior form of recovery to alternative treatments. ((Jon, E. B. (2010). Cold and compression in the management of musculoskeletal injuries and orthopedic operative procedures: A narrative review. Open Access Journal of Sports Medicine, 2010; 1: 105–113. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3781860/))
4. It improves your circulation
Being possibly the top reason why experts all around the world recommend taking cold showers regularly, your whole body will thank you for your improved circulation and the enhanced work of the cardiovascular system.
You see, once the cold water hits your skin, your body acknowledges this change in temperature and will do anything to maintain the normal, healthy temperature of your skin. This means that it will trigger your cardiovascular system to work harder, which will result in an immediate increase of rate that your blood circulates at. The cold temperature also triggers the cardiovascular system to reduce any present inflammation in the body and to prevent any cardiovascular disease as well.
5. Improves Our Immune System
Cold water can improve circulation by encouraging blood to surround our organs, which can then help combat some problems of the skin and heart. As cold water hits the body, it’s ability to get blood circulating leads the arteries to more efficiently pump blood, therefore boosting our overall heart health. But that is not all – cold showers also increase the number of white blood cells which, as you may know, are responsible for fighting diseases, bacteria, and viruses in order to keep us healthy. By increasing their number, improving our blood circulation and increasing the metabolic rate – the cold showers are bound to activate your immune system and with time strengthen it, resulting in a better, healthier you.
6. Makes You Start Your Day With A Smile On Your Face!
If you ever feel down or just not in the best state of your life, consider splashing ice-cold water all over your body. No really, do it. This 2008 study considers cold showers as a potential treatment for depression. ((Shevchuk, N. A. (2008). Adapted cold shower as a potential treatment for depression. Medical Hypotheses, 2008;70(5):995-1001. DOI: 10.1016/j.mehy.2007.04.052))
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.
7. It Will Give Your Skin and Hair a Natural, Healthy Glow!
Many dermatologists and hairdressers around the world recommend washing the skin and the hair by using cold water only. That is because, as we discussed earlier, the cold shower will improve your blood circulation and when there is more blood flowing around everybody organ, including the skin this healthy glow is expected to occur. In addition, your skin will clear up and you will get to enjoy nature, glowing skin without too much of an effort.
Plus, washing your hair by using cold water has its benefit as well. Your hair as well will become glowing and smooth in just a few days. You have to understand that hot water is what dries both your skin and your hair, and you need to replace this unhealthy habit of yours if you want to have nice looking skin and hair!
8. Cold Showers Increase Testosterone Levels in Men
Another cool benefit of taking cold showers is the chance to increase your, perhaps, low testosterone levels! We are speaking of a natural way to increase testosterone levels, which you should not dismiss so quickly.
In a scientific research published in Archives of Andrology, it has been confirmed that heat, even in the smallest amounts, has a certain negative effect on the DNA, RNA and the protein synthesis in the testicles of men. ((Nakamura, M., Namiki, M., Okuyama, A., Koh, E., Kondoh, N., Takeyama, M., … Matsuda, M. (1988). Optimal temperature for synthesis of DNA, RNA, and protein by human testis in vitro. Archives of Andrology, 20(1):41-4. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2455487)) This can potentially affect your testosterone levels and affect the quality of your sperm as well as your sperm count. Why risk it by having a long hot shower when you can take a cold shower instead and gain all of the other beneficial effects that we discussed before?
9. Cold Showers Fight Depression
Depression is not an easy thing to live with. It affects so many people right now, that we have lost count. There are a lot of things that you can do to fight depression efficiently – from using antidepressants, exercising regularly, meditating, practicing yoga and so on, but did you know that cold showers can help as well?
The mild shock that you go through as the cold water hits your skin is thought to cause an anti-depressive effect. In addition, cold showers are thought to hit the so-called “blue spot” in the brain or the primary source of noradrenaline which is a vital chemical in the brain able to alleviate the symptoms of depression. And it has all been confirmed by Dr. Shevchuk who has published his findings in an issue of the Medical Hypotheses and considers that a cold shower should be part of the usual treatment for depression. ((Shevchuk, N. A. (2008). Adapted cold shower as a potential treatment for depression. Medical Hypotheses, 70(5):995-1001. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17993252))
Tips on How to Build the Habit of Cold Showering
We know committing to cold showers is as difficult to commit to your new year’s resolutions but this is a really awesome hack and it’s pretty cheap too especially when you consider the alternative ways of getting these benefits.
Here are 3 easy tips to help you literally embrace the cold.
1. Think of All the Benefits You Read Just Now
Seriously, look at what a 10-minute cold shower can do for your body. You’ll feel energized, your body will go into a faster fat-burning mode, and you’ll feel happier. Your blood circulation will improve, your stress levels will decrease and you will act upon your testosterone levels to increase without too big of an effort. Plus, your skin will be nice and glowing without having to use any kind of skin product! There are a lot of more troublesome and costly ways to get one of those perks and a cold shower gives them to you in one blast. So why not give them a try?
2. Convince Yourself that Real Men aren’t Afraid of Cold Showers
Time to separate the men from the boys! You got the muscle, the looks, and maybe even the girth (maybe) but you’re nothing if you scream like some 10-year old kid at a drop of cold water.
Don’t be a sissy and think you NEED hot water to start your day. No, you deserve a hot bath BEFORE you sleep but not before you start your day. Earn that hot bath at night by emerging victorious after an icy-beating.
3. Think of How Smooth You Would Be With the Ladies
If I was a girl and I found out this average Joe takes ice-cold showers every morning like it was an ordinary routine, I’d be interested immediately. Like, no ordinary guy would do something crazy like this but we’re not ordinary now, are we?
4. Start With a Hot Shower and Progress Towards a Cold One
If you do not think that you will be able to give up your hot showers in the mornings and replace them with cold ones immediately, why not start off with a hot one? It is easy. Start off with a hot shower, and progressively reduce the amount of hot water and increase the amount of cold water instead. Do so until you finish off your last 3 minutes by using only cold water. You may try this technique a couple of mornings until you finally feel motivated enough to use nothing but cold water for your morning showers!
Hot showers are great but hey – why not try a cold shower instead? Why do you ask? Are improved blood circulation, improved immune system, improved mood, reduced stress levels, reduced symptoms of depression enough of reasons for you? How about an increased testosterone level and a glowing skin and hair? Yes, we thought so – cold showers sound good now, don’t they? We bet that you will try a nice good cold shower as soon as you wake up tomorrow and will not think about it twice! Do not worry, you can still have your relaxing hot shower or bath before you go to sleep – that is still highly recommended!
As mentioned, one of the great benefits from taking cold showers is increasing your testosterone naturally. Below we have a guide that gives you several ways to increase your T levels naturally through acitvity, supplementation and diet.