Here’s a winter dare for you.
When It comes to cold showers. The majority’s reaction is, why would you do such a thing? For the brave few, cold showers are a lifestyle. You will expect to find the benefits of cold showers in this article.
Many cultures take advantage of their icy river banks and snowy bodies of water. The Finnish enjoy relaxing in a not sauna then diving into an “ice hole” filled with water outside. Doesn’t sound too relaxing right? You might be surprised by the affects of this practice.
This method is now practiced in some spas. You will find Hot tubs and ice baths side by side for their clients to experience.
This activity is not for the faint of hearts. Literally, if you are suffering from heart disease, high blood pressure, or a fever, you should NOT be performing this activity.
I was first introduced to cold water therapy during a vacation in Mexico. Relaxing in a hot tube after a Swedish massage. The gentleman next to me struck up a conversation. After a few minutes chatting he climbed into the ice bath next to us. Slowly getting in, the hairs on his body erected. Standing tall like a bamboo forest. Fully submerging his body in the ice bath my jaw hung below my knees. “This man is crazy!”. He smiled and shouted, “Join me!” I refused, “I’m no masochist” I claimed jokingly.
“Aww, come on. Don’t be a coward.”
Great, now I have to get in. Nobody calls me a chicken! I stood there staring at the ice bath. “Hurry up.” The man said. Slowly stepping in the Icy cold water. Chills volleyed up my spine, heart pounding, and hyperventilating. It felt like falling into a haystack full of needles. “Take a deep breath.” The man said. Regaining my breath after a few minutes. Hey, this isnt too bad. Leaving the ice bath, my mood improved. Energized, I felt like I could take on the world. Maybe those Finns are not so crazy after all.
Studies show that cold showers may have the same benefits as ice baths.
Boost your immune system. Studies show that participants who take cold showers, show an increase in white blood cells. Compared the three weeks before starting the cold shower regiment. The sudden drop in body temperature activates the body’s metabolism. Increasing the metabolic rate to maintain body temperature. Thus, activating the immune system to respond with more white blood cells.
Reduce muscle soreness. Athletes resort to ice baths after a hard workout or long run. During an ice bath your blood vessel constricts. Resulting in reduced inflammation and promoting waste removal. As you warm up after the ice bath your vessels will slowly expand. Increasing the amount of oxygen your muscles need to recover and stimulating blood flow.
Increased Alertness. Morning are much more productive. Instead of taking a warm steamy shower half asleep. The cold water will instantly wake you up. The affect does not end with the shower. The effects may last for up to 5 or 6 hours. More effective than a cup off coffee!
It helps you get out of your comfort zone. “If you swallow a toad first thing in the morning, you can go through the rest of the day knowing the worst is behind you.” -Mark Twain. Doing something uncomfortable first thing in the morning will make the rest of the day less stressful.
Cold showers are scary, I get it. I have to pump myself up before jumping in.
Stepping into a cold shower will trigger your sympathetic nervous system. The fight-or-flight response mechanism. Don’t run though! After 30 seconds your body will realize that it is not in immediate danger. Your heart rate will stabilize, and breathing will return back to normal. A study in 2007, shows that electrical shock to central nervous system has shown to have antidepressant properties.
Burn more fat. It takes calories to keep your body warm. Cold showers will help shred some fat. Your body is made up of off 3 different types of fat. Brown fat, beige fat, and white fat. Brown fat is also known as good fat. In cold environments brown fat is broken down as fuel to keep our body warm. White fat, in excess is harmful to our body. Causing high blood pressure, heart disease and many other issues. Beige fat is a mixture of both brown fat and white fat. Stored in small amounts. When taking cold showers your body will store more brown fat and less white fat.
Your skin will look great. Hot showers strip away oils in our hair and skin. Causing dry skin, irritation, and sometimes hair loss. Cold showers are a great way to close pores and maintain healthy oil on the skin.
When it comes to healthier life style. I challenge you to take the 30-day cold shower challenge. By week two you wont even notice the cold.