Standing under a frigid spray of water might seem like the last thing you should do when getting ready to start your day, but we promise you, the practice results in numerous health benefits.
It may seem to go against our natural instincts, but foregoing warm baths for icy-cold showers actually has many benefits. Some of them may surprise you, and most of them have immediate effects! Turn that dial way up, because these super-cool reasons will convince you to seize the freeze.
Not only does regularly taking a cold shower improve the quality of your skin and hair, it can stimulate weight loss and even speed up muscle soreness and recovery. Here are coolest reasons you should start taking cold showers:
Put that coffee away, cold showers are a better pick-me-up
Early-morning cold showers give you a natural adrenaline boost that’ll leave you energized to take on the day’s work. And if the thought of dousing your body in ice-cold water for 15 minutes straight sends shivers down your spine, fret not! You can just rinse yourself with cold water for a minute or two just before stepping out of the shower.
We’ll bet you didn’t know that by taking cold showers, you can reduce your stress levels! Considering everyone is pretty frazzled nowadays, this is a key benefit.
According to a 1994 study, cold showers decrease uric acid buildup in the body. The study also noted an increase in the antioxidant glutathione after taking a cold shower. The participants were 10 healthy people who swim regularly in ice-cold water during the winter. Based on the results, it would seem those who take cold showers have an easier time adapting to oxidative stress.
Relief from Symptoms of Depression
Cold showers have been shown to relieve depression symptoms due to the intense impact of cold receptors in the skin, which send an overwhelming amount of electrical impulses from the peripheral nerve endings to the brain. Thus, it produces an antidepressive effect, and boosts moods, making it a pick-me-up. A 2008 study found that cold hydrotherapy has an analgesic effect, and does not appear to have noticeable side effects or cause dependence. This treatment included one to two cold showers of 38 degrees Fahrenheit, two to three minutes long, followed by a five-minute gradual adaptation to make the procedure less shocking.
Relieve sore muscles
We’re all aware that the first aid treatment to sprained ankles or insect bites is a cold compress. This same principle is true to tired muscles: after an intense workout session, reduce muscle soreness by incorporating a cold shower into your post-exercise routine.
We have all seen athletes taking ice baths after training to reduce muscle soreness, but a quick cold shower after breaking a sweat at the gym can be just as effective, especially in relieving delayed-onset muscle soreness. A 2009 study analyzing 17 trials involved over 360 people who either rested or immersed themselves in cold water after resistance training, cycling, or running. It found that 24-minute cold water baths were effective in relieving sore muscles one to four days after exercises with a water temperature of 50 to 59 degrees Fahrenheit, or 10 to 15 degrees Celsius. However, some studies involved colder temperatures.
Refines Hair and Skin
When it comes to hair and skin, one of the most natural ways to maintain your appearance is with cold showers. Hot water has the tendency to dry out our skin, so it’s best to use cold water to tighten your cuticles and pores, which will prevent them from getting clogged. Cold water can “seal” the pores in the skin and scalp too, preventing dirt from getting in.
Jessica Krant, board-certified dermatologist, told The Huffington Post that ice-cold or lukewarm water can help our skin and prevent it from being stripped of its healthy natural oils too quickly. Remember, cold water only temporarily tightens skin as it constricts blood flow, but it does not shrink pores. When it comes to haircare, cold showers can make hair appear shinier, stronger, and healthier by flattening hair follicles, and increasing their ability to grip the scalp.
The shock factor
If you’re not feeling too brave, the good news is that you don’t need to endure your entire shower in cold water. It is actually far more beneficial to switch to cold for the last few minutes, giving your body a natural adrenaline boost that will wake you up and leave you energized to face the day ahead.
Boost your metabolism naturally
When very cold (yes, you’ve got to turn that dial all the way!) water drenches our body, it dramatically increases our metabolic rate, which in turn boosts our body’s ability to burn calories. We’ll take that added bonus, thank you very much.
It might sound counter-intuitive since our go-to remedy for a good night’s sleep would usually be a warm bath, but actually the stress-relieving properties of a cold water blast will help knock insomnia on the head.