5 Benefits of Cold Showers
Waking up to the thought of a cold shower is enough to make even the bravest of us shiver. If you’ve never suffered through being the last person to shower in a full house, leaving you drenched in water that you’re sure came directly from Antarctica to your shower head, then you my friend have lived a blessed life.
Despite that though, evidence shows that a cold shower might just be exactly what you need to kickstart your day!
1 - Alertness
We all wake up a bit groggy, stumbling out of bed wishing we could climb back in and hibernate like a bear, but a cold shower before work can wake you up in an instant. When cold water covers your body it reacts with shock, your breathing deepens in an attempt to warm you up by increasing oxygen intake. This in turn boosts your heartrate, sending a rush of blood through your body that results in a sudden burst of energy and wakefulness.
2 - Skin
Every health blog out there will tell you the benefits of splashing your face with cold water. Have you ever noticed your face is a little puffy when you wake up? All across your body your skin cells are regenerating in your sleep and as they do so the pores open up, most noticeably on your face. Cold water helps to close up your pores, ensuring they are kept as free of dirt as possible throughout the day.
Love her or hate her, no one can deny that Australia’s own Nicole Kidman’s skin is flawless at 50. In an interview with Vogue she told them;
“When I wake up in the morning, I love splashing cold water on my face or sometimes taking a super cold shower. I think I do that because when I was young, I would swim in the ocean in Australia, so there’s something connected to starting the day with cold water.”
I’m not going to argue with one of the BMX Bandits.
3 - Immunity
In addition to alertness, blood flow is a huge factor when it comes to immunity. The theory is that the cold water boosts your metabolism and helps to increase the activation of the immune system, which in turn leads to an increase in the production of white blood cells.
Another tip from healthfree.com to boost your lymphatic system (the system that if blocked can show in symptoms of frequent colds and joint pain) is to alternate between hot and cold water. This causes your lymph vessels to act like your lungs, contracting with the cold water and then relaxing when exposed to heat, just like you were taking a big breath. This effect makes it act like a big pump, cleaning out those lymph vessels.
4 - Muscle Recovery
In the days that follow any sports game the news almost always shows a clip of the players walking neck deep into ice cold water, be it at the beach or one of their multimillion dollar conditioning locations. It isn’t just elite athletes that can do this.
Men’s Fitness recently looked into the benefits of cold therapy on muscles and found that cold water treatment, while not affecting muscle strength, can reduce muscle soreness by 20%. Now if you’re waking up the morning after a particularly horrible leg day, 20% less sore is probably looking pretty attractive!
5 - Depression
Common wisdom tells us that a cold shower is perfect calm down tool for when your hormones are raging, but a study by Researcher Nikolai Shevchuk at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine has found that they might just have another effect. Taking a cold shower for two-three minutes a day may stimulate the locus ceruleus, or “blue spot”, in the brain, which is the brain’s primary source of a biochemical called noradrenaline that could help mediate depression.
Shevchuk’s research is just another step in the practice of hydrotherapy that dates back as far as ancient Egypt, Greek, and Roman civilisations.
Now if after hearing all that you still can’t handle the idea of giving up your daily dose of warmth for seven minutes of icy hell, then why not try turning the taps for the last thirty seconds for a quick jumpstart to stimulate blood flow.