Taking a shower is part of most people’s hygiene routines.
But you might be surprised to learn that mixing up your shower process with a cold rinse is actually more beneficial to your health than the luxurious and warm-water shower with your favorite shower heads you’re accustomed to.
The idea of a cold shower might make you cringe.
However, research suggests that cold temperatures provide many health benefits that are untapped by the traditional warm shower.
And while a cold shower can be a challenge mentally and feel discomforting in the moment, you might consider introducing it into your routine.
A cold shower does more than just wash away dirt and leave you with a shiver.
The chilling effect actually increases the state of both your physical and emotional health in many unassuming ways.
Here are just a few of the many benefits you’ll find from mixing up your shower routine:
It Improves Energy & Alertness
The most obvious and well-known benefit of a cold shower is increased energy.
If you’ve ever been the last one in the shower or had someone flush the toilet mid-rinse, you know the immediate shock and frustration that comes with the cold water surprise.
Although the thought of bone-chilling water surrounding your body can seem intimidating, you might reconsider.
The deep breathing that naturally evolves from the shock of the chill has tremendous benefits to your energy levels and alertness for the day.
Your increased heart rate due to the stimulus releases a rush of blood to your body giving off a natural alerted feeling that will really jump-start your day.
It Burns Fat
Cold showers can stimulate weight loss in an unexpected way.
The body produces two different kinds of fat.
White fat tends to accumulate when we consume more calories than our body requires for functioning.
When we fail to burn these calories through exercise and release of energy, they will store up in our most unwanted areas.
However, there is a second kind of fat the body naturally generates to keep our bodies warm.
This fat, known as brown fat, becomes activated when exposed to cold temperatures.
Cold showers are one way to activate this fat and burn some extra calories.
Although this tactic should not be substituted for good diet and exercise, and will not have the same results as these healthy habits, a cold shower is one surprising way to stimulate brown fat activity and shed an unwanted pound or two.
It Fights the Blues
Research suggests that cold showers are one therapeutic approach to fighting the blues of depression.
One recent study even suggests that regular cold shower therapy might even be more effective than prescription medications for depressed patients.
The research explains that stimulation from a cold shower results in dopamine transition and dopamine is connected closely with a person’s ability to regulate emotions.
Because depression is generally associated with a chemical imbalance related to emotions, it is believed that cold shower therapy can significantly help with this diagnosis.
Additional research suggests that exposure to cold temperatures might also trigger our body’s natural recovery and repair systems to burst into action thus reversing some of the effects of a depressive state.
Even if you are not actually diagnosed with a form of depression but just feeling a little lonely or low, these findings suggest that taking a cold shower has the potential to act as a mood-lifting mechanism for even the most minor cases.
Next time you are feeling a little blue, try taking a cold shower to boost your mood!
It Encourages Better Shut-eye
Your body temperature plays a starring role in your ability to get enough sleep each night.
We’ve all had a long sleepless night or two due to the discomfort of heat.
A hot shower instead of a cold one tends to naturally raise your internal body temperature.
If your body is too warm right before bed, you may experience discomfort and an inability to fall asleep right away.
That’s why taking a shower with a warm towel taken right out of your towel warmer is not always the best case.
A recent study suggests that people fall asleep much faster and also experience more quality rest when they participate in body cooling behaviors right before bed.
A cold shower is one such cooling mechanism proven to be effective in calming restlessness.
Consider this research next time you hop in the shower before bed.
It Impacts Your Fertility
Another unassuming benefit of a cold rinse is its impact on fertility.
A man’s sperm count is reduced if his testes become too hot, thus decreasing his reproductive capacity.
A recent university study indicated that hot baths or Jacuzzi soaks reduced fertility in men drastically.
The same study also suggested that eliminating heat from their bathing routine could be one non-invasive way to reverse these effects.
Men participating in the study who eliminated wet heat from their routines saw their sperm count increase 491 percent and also saw increased sperm mobility.
Additionally, cold temperatures help increase hormone levels by giving your body’s natural glands a boost.
Increased hormones assist with the conception process and are related to fertility capabilities.
Although taking a cold shower will not have as extreme of an effect on reproduction as nixing the hot bath, it could have similar effects and is worth a try if you’re worried about fertility.
It Gives You Gorgeous Hair & Skin
Cold water is also proven to have a positive impact on your physical appearance.
Unfortunately, hot water has the tendency to create dryness in the hair and skin follicles.
This dryness can lead to an aged or worn appearance.
Cold showers have been said to help reverse some of these effects by tightening the pores and cuticles and preventing dirt from entering the skin and scalp.
Cold water also helps preserve some of our natural bodily oils which are important for creating a healthy glow in the skin and hair.
Specific to hair, cold water helps flatten the hair follicles giving off a healthier appearance.
It Relieves Muscle Ache & Soreness
Famous athletes are notorious for indulging in an ice bath after big games or matches.
Ice baths are known for reducing inflammation and easing muscle tension after extreme exercise.
Cold water therapy experts claim that cold water soothes muscles by redirecting blood flow to the deep vessels.
This shift allows toxins built up during exercise to be flushed and replenished with nutrients.
Even so, not everyone has access to the materials and supplies necessary for an ice bath.
Experts have suggested that eight minutes under a cold shower can have similar soothing effects.
With this in mind, consider a cold shower after your next workout and enjoy some of the relief benefits.
It Increases Circulation
Good blood circulation is crucial for a clear cardiovascular bill of health.
Cold water is known to stimulate blood flow throughout your core as well as your extremities.
When cold water makes contact with the skin the body is signaled to tighten the veins and arteries.
This constriction allows blood to flow at a higher pressure leading to increased circulation.
Improved circulation is beneficial to the body because it allows the arteries to pump blood more efficiently reducing blood pressure levels and increasing overall heart health.
Increased blood circulation keeps you looking and feeling your best. So try mixing in a cold shower to get your blood pumping!
It Boosts Immunity
Cold showers are often claimed as a preventative measure for things such as cold and flu.
Cold water is known to increase glutathione which is your body’s most powerful and effective antioxidant and helps boost overall immunity.
Your body’s metabolic rate is also increased when exposed to cold temperatures.
This is your body’s way of attempting to warm itself.
This rapid increase in metabolic rate activates the immune system and releases white blood cells responsible for warding off bacteria and foreign pathogens.
In addition, exposure to cold temperatures has been known to dramatically reduce the amount of uric acid in the body.
High levels of uric acid are associated with diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, and obesity and can pose serious health risks.
Therefore, people who take cold showers are taking a step in the right direction in building their immunity and warding off disease.
It Increases Stress Tolerance
Cold water is also known to reduce stress levels.
For one, as previously discussed, contact with cold water promotes better blood flow and a soothing effect to achy muscles.
Secondly, exposing your body to extremely cold temperatures for short periods of time results in what experts call “hardening”.
Hardening is known as an increased ability to withstand stress.
Your body becomes able to withstand larger stressors through this conditioning process.
Although not guaranteed, the simple shift of an occasional cold shower can better condition your body to withstand stressors such as heart disease, diabetes, and kidney issues.
Based on these examples, it’s clear that hydrotherapy has its perks.
Not only does it contribute to your physical health and appearance but it also has apparent mental benefits too.
This tactic is an inexpensive change that takes minimal effort or extra time, as it is already part of your daily routine!
I’d say its time to ditch the warm shower and opt for a cold rinse!
Joslin Diabetes Center: http://www.joslin.org/diabetes-research/turning-up-the-heat-on-brown-fat.html
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