It might sound like an absolute nightmare, but there are quite a few benefits to taking cold showers. It might seem like a cold shower is a hilarious prank idea and for fighting erections. However, an icy slap to the face might just be what you need to jump-start your health routine. Despite being uncomfortable, cold exposure and other painful practices can help keep our bodies operating at tip-top shape. We often forget that for most of human history we were mostly running around naked, desperate, and terrified. Our bodies are adapted to build on stress and pain, and can absolutely make use of cold shower benefits.
In 2019, all the constant sitting, eating, binge-watching, and not being hunted by wild beasts has made us soft. We are like fat kings with gout from all the comfort and luxury we consume. Practices like intermittent fasting, oxygen restriction, and cold-water exposure help to safely keep our bodies under a healthy amount of stress. When we have just the right levels, our bodies release hormones and activate neurotransmitters that keep us working at peak performance. With that in mind, cold shower benefits can do a lot to get us on the right track.
Cold Shower Benefits
As soon as the cold water hits the skin, our body sends alarm bells to the heart to start working in overdrive. As the heart pumps faster, blood begins to circulate freely throughout the body and around our organs. This sudden activation of our circulatory system is thought to help clear potential clogs in our arteries and lower our blood pressure overall. Even more, the cold increases our metabolic speed as well as the number of white blood cells in the body which gives us greater protection from illness.
Weight loss might be the holy grail of benefits for many people. Yes, cold exposure can aid in losing weight through our own natural survival mechanisms. When the body starts to get too cold it immediately assumes it will probably die. That is because of what our bodies often did before thermostats and fire on-demand. To prevent death, brown fat is activated. Brown fat is the good stuff, the fat we need to protect ourselves from the elements and survive. White fat is the stuff we gained from bad diets and no exercise. When brown fat is activated, it starts to warm our body, rapidly devouring calories in the process.
Lastly, cold water is better for the skin and hair. Hot water strips away valuable oils and can leave you feeling dry and flaky. Coldwater leaves the skin looking fresh and clean. It forces the pores and cuticles to tighten as the body temporarily restricts blood flow. This then blocks dirt and other pollutants from entering the skin leaving it looking naturally clean. It is also thought to leave hair looking stronger because it tightens the scalp. So, while the shrinkage may ruin how some other things look, at least your hair will be looking sexy.
While cold showers are simple is a harsh way to get the body shocked into peak performance, it isn’t right for everyone. If your suffering from an illness, a cold shower could very well make it worse. At this point, your body is already stressed and working at maximum capacity to deal with whatever affliction you are suffering from. Jumping into a cold shower could be the equivalent of kicking your immune system right in the twig and berries. It is times like these that hot showers and baths will be better for recovery and assisting the fight against illness.
Also, while there is certainly evidence of short-term weight loss effects, there is not much to out there about long-term weight loss. Furthermore, everybody’s fat makeup is different. Some of us will have a higher percentage of brown fat than others. Some may not feel or see any benefit to the cold shower routine. It is not a universal weight-loss tool.
How to Build a Routine
To get the most out of the cold shower routine, it is worth doing at least once a day. Twice if you are really serious about freezing your butt off. Each shower should be around 5 to 10 minutes long to be most effective. Also, you don’t necessarily have to start cold and stay that way throughout. If you are looking to ease yourself into it, you can begin warm and slowly cool the water down until it hits a target temperature of around 68 degrees Fahrenheit. 30 seconds to 2 minutes in the icy grip of your shower head is enough to reap the benefits before you warm up again.
What To Avoid
68 degrees Fahrenheit is noted in a study as the ideal cold temperature for properly shocking your body to cold perfection. However, depending on the person or the situation, you’re going to need varying degrees of cold to really feel its effects. After exercise on a hot summer day, 68 degrees will not feel like much and you may need to drop it down several notches. However, it will not do you any good to regularly subject yourself to something unbearable. Avoid water that’s at near-freezing levels. This can induce hypothermic effects and while your body is certainly working hard, it is less a controlled exposure and more of an absolute freak-out. It is just too close to death; we are not trying to kill you here. You want to strike a balance where you can feel as cold as possible for as long as possible.
To Shrink, Or Not To Shrink? That Is The Question
While cold shower benefits are real, they are not a miracle cure. When added to a good diet and exercise routine, you may notice a healthier appearance and sense of well-being overall. It can shock you out of drowsiness and the sudden temperature change can help keep you feeling present and alert. If a regular routine is not for you, try occasionally zapping yourself in the shower with a sudden turn. You will get a nice refreshing burst of cold and you can slowly build yourself up into a true cold warrior.