Believe it or not, there are a number of proven benefits to incorporating cold showers into your daily routine.
In today’s day and age when we have power and electricity at the push of a button, why might we want to revert back to taking an icy cold shower? It may not seem like the most productive of activities, but we can assure you that studies have shown that regular cold showers can have a positive influence on your physical and mental health.
Benefits of cold showers:
- Reduce stress
- Improve your immune system
- Increase alertness
- Increase weight loss
- Increased willpower
It goes without saying that taking a cold shower is a surefire way to wake your body up.
This is ultimately why many decide to start their day with a cold, refreshing shower to get the blood pumping and ready to take on the day ahead. However, this can also be utilised throughout the day, if you are feeling a little tired or low energy, jump in the shower for with the cold water on high for a quick wake-me-up and you won’t feel the need for caffeine!
Why you should consider taking cold showers
While hot showers have their own list of benefits such as helping muscles to relax, reducing stiffness and relieving migraines, cold showers have a whole different set of benefits you could be experiencing by incorporating a new cold showers into your week.
This may sound counterintuitive, but cold showers place a small amount of stress on your body each time you take one, which leads to a process called ‘hardening’. This is where your body builds a tolerance and resistance to stress and over time you are able to deal with stressful situations with greater ease, reducing the impact of stress on your body in the long run.
Cold showers also help your body to release endorphins, and reduce the ‘stress hormone’, cortisol, both of which will help to boost your mood and reduce anxious feelings.
Improve your immune system
During a cold shower, your body has to work a little harder to maintain a steady temperature which leads to an increase in the body’s metabolic rate. This results in the body producing more white blood cells, the cells responsible for protecting your body and making you less susceptible to disease or infection.
The stark contrast in temperature between the body and cold water causes the hate rate to rise, increased blood pressure and elevated breathing, all of which allow the blood to be fully oxygenated which can help to energise the body and mind.
Aids weight loss
Just as the increased metabolism caused by the body working harder to maintain temperature leads to improved immunity, it can have a similar positive impact on weight loss. Research has shown that cold showers help to stimulate ‘brown fat’ (the good type of fat which helps to keep your body warm when it is exposed to the cold), which helps to generate energy which in turn can burn calories and can aid in weight loss alongside a healthy diet and exercise.
Willpower is like a muscle, it needs to be exercised and used or else it cannot develop and grow. By utilising cold showers, you can help to exercise your willpower muscle and ensure that this has the opportunity to strengthen. This can mean that when you are faced with challenging moments, that you have the confidence in your own will power to overcome them. This can be an empowering tool, and one that can come in very handy when on an alcohol-free journey.
Ruari on the topic of cold showers
Tips for getting started with cold showers
If the benefits discussed above sound appealing, and you’d like to try out this chilly business for yourself, here are a few tips to get you started…
Start off slow
Just like anything else in life, this can take some getting used to. You don’t have to throw yourself in at the deep end, just start off with short increments of cold water and slowly work your way up to a couple minutes of cold water at a time. It is a good idea when first starting out to take your shower as normal, but for the last 30 seconds turn the tap to cold so you get a short burst of icy cold water and an energising start to the day.
Steadily turn down the temperature
Again, you don’t need to be a pro at cold water showers on your first go. Start off by turning down the temperature of your shower by a few degrees, and then the next time, try turning it down a little more. Keep going until you have your shower as cold as it will go!
Take a breath
Practising breathing exercises during a cold shower can help to take your mind away from the chill whilst also adding to the health benefits by ensuring you are getting the necessary oxygen into your blood.
Keep your mind on the positives!
A positive mindset is a powerful thing, so try to focus on the benefits of cold water showers, and the reason why you are doing them in the first place. Remember, you LOVE cold showers!
Alternatively, focus on something else you love, somewhere else you like to be or an activity you like to do. Focus all your energy on imagining what that feels like, looks like, sounds like to take your mind away from the cold.
Go give it a go!
So there you have it. The surprising benefits to taking cold showers, and some tips for how to get started. Now it is your turn, go give it a go and see what benefits you find.