Big test coming up? Or maybe you have an important class presentation first thing and you need to be at the top of your game? Try a cold shower first thing in the morning. Cold showers are any showers with a water temperature below 70°F. Cold water therapy (i.e. hydrotherapy) has been used for centuries to take advantage of our body’s tendency to adapt to harsher conditions. As a result, after a cold shower our bodies become more resistant to stress and allows us to increase alertness and overall mental awareness. Check out the benefits of a cold shower below.
Depression affects at least 10 percent of American adults, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One holistic method of treatment that’s gaining popularity is hydrotherapy. Taking a cold shower for up to 5 minutes, 2 to 3 times per week, was shown to help relieve symptoms of depression.
The cold water sends many electrical impulses to your brain. It jolts your system to increase alertness, clarity, and energy levels. Endorphins, which are sometimes called happiness hormones, are also released. This effect leads to feelings of well-being and optimism.
Helps improve metabolism
People that are obese can’t simply start taking cold showers to lose weight without changing other lifestyle habits. But taking a cold shower 2 or 3 times per week may contribute to increased metabolism. The research about how exactly cold showers help people lose weight is unclear. Still, it does show that cold water can even out certain hormone levels and heal the gastrointestinal system. These effects may add to the cold shower’s ability to lead to weight loss.
It can feel uncomfortable to immerse our bodies in cold water, but it can also be invigorating. That’s because water that’s colder than our natural body temperature causes the body to work slightly harder to maintain its core temperature. When taken regularly, cold showers can make our circulatory system more efficient. Some people also report that their skin looks better as a result of cold showers, probably because of better circulation.
Athletes have known this benefit for years, even if we have only recently seen data that supports cold water for healing after a sport injury. By bringing the temperature of an area of the body down, we speed up the delivery of warmer, freshly oxygenated blood to that area. And that speeds up recovery time. Some people may benefit from cold showers as a way to help their blood move through their body more quickly. These include people with poor circulation, high blood pressure and diabetes.
Helps fight off common illnesses
Our bodies are designed to become resistant to the elements we are exposed to. For example, leukocytes help fight infection in the body. The shock of cold water in the bloodstream stimulates leukocytes. This means that taking cold showers can help your resistance to common illnesses, like colds and the flu.
One study even indicated that cold showers could make the body more resistant to certain types of cancer. And a clinical trial in the Netherlands showed that people who took cold showers called out of work less.
People that are preparing for surgery or other disease treatment that could lead to decreased immunity might want to start taking cold showers in preparation.
The ideal way to take a cold shower is to ease in to the habit.
Start by slowly lowering the temperature at the end of a usual shower. Get the water cold enough that you start to feel uncomfortable. Then, stay underneath the water for 2 or 3 minutes. Breathing deeply will help decrease your discomfort in your mind. The next time you try this exercise, make the water slightly colder. Try to last for another minute or two in the colder water. After performing this activity 7 to 10 times, you’ll find that you might even look forward to turning the hot water down.