Over the weekend the hot water system at my house blew up. The water, it got hotter and hotter and then it grew colder and colder until Monday morning when I had, let’s say, a rather refreshing start to the day! It got me thinking about those crazy people who leap into the icy waters in the winter and then the purported benefits to taking cold showers.
My top reasons for taking a cold shower.
Cold showers increase alertness
Taking a cold shower in the morning and feeling cold water pour down over our body seems more horrifying than soothing. However, the deep breathing in response to our body’s shock helps us keep warm, as it increases our overall oxygen intake, thus our heart rate will also increase, releasing a rush of blood through our entire body. This gives us a natural dose of energy for the day.
Cold showers burn fat
There are two kinds of fat in your body: white fat and brown fat. White fat is the bad guy (think Donald Trump) and brown fat is the good guy (think Bernie Sanders). White fat is the body fat we all know and often struggle to get rid of. When we consume more calories than our body needs to function and we don’t burn those calories for energy, they are stored as white fat, which tends to accumulate at your belly, lower back , thighs, and neck. Brown fat is the good guy and its function is to generate heat to keep your body warm.
Here’s the good news: when brown fat is activated due to extreme cold, it burns calories to keep you warm. Scandinavian researchers found that exposure to cold temperatures increased the metabolic rate of brown fat by fifteen fold, which could help a person drop four kilos in a year if sustained.
Cold showers strengthen immunity and circulation
As mentioned, cold showers speed up your metabolic rate, which helps you lose fat. The increase of this rate activates your immune system, which releases virus-fighting white blood cells that will help you get sick less frequently. Cold showers also increase your overall circulation, which can help you avoid high blood pressure and the hardening of arteries.
Cold showers give you attractive hair and skin
If you’d like to reduce the appearance of acne, cold showers could do the job. Hot water dries out your skin, while cold water tightens your cuticles and pores, preventing them from getting clogged. French women have often employed this beauty trick and when you think about it, having a hot shower really is a modern day luxury. You can also use cold showers for shinier, more attractive hair. Cold water will close your cuticles, making it less likely dirt can accumulate in your scalp.
Cold showers may ease stress and depression.
Jumping into the shower without letting it heat up, or throwing yourself into the water at the beach, can help promote an increased tolerance to stress and even disease. A 1994 study found a drastic decrease in uric acid levels during and following exposure to a cold stimulus. There was also an increase in gluthathione, an antioxidant that keeps all other antioxidants performing at their optimal levels.
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. Therefore it produces an anti-depressive effect, and boosts moods, making cold showers an excellent pick-me-up.
What’s not to love about a cold shower!