How many of us really like that cold shower? After working out, yes, but any other time? Well, it is time to start liking them.
If people have the choice between showering with water at 35°C instead of 20°C, they will choose to use hot water. However, even if having a hot shower is apparently more enjoyable, it doesn’t necessarily make it good. This may seem surprising, but cold water can have benefits for your body and health.
Why Having Too Hot Showers is a Bad Idea
For many people, a shower with water at 30 degrees is not hot enough. Many people tend to shower with water at 35 or sometimes 40 degrees, which is actually a bad idea.
The skin is naturally covered with a thin layer of sebum. This sebum layer protects the skin from bacteria. It also makes it waterproof and prevents it from being too dry.
When you take a shower that is too hot, you destroy this thin layer of sebum, which makes your skin more sensitive to external aggressions such as bacteria or cold. In addition, a lack of sebum will tend to dry the epidermis, the epidermis will tend to lose its elasticity, and then you will observe cracks on your skin.
This also applies to your hair. If you use too hot water, you will have dry, stiff, brittle hair and a dry scalp. To compensate, your scalp may secrete excess sebum. You may find that your scalp is too greasy and try to correct it… by taking a hot shower, so hot that your bathroom will be filled with steam at the end…
A good way to avoid all these negative displays is to lower the temperature… or even take cold showers.
Health Benefits of Cold Showers
Cold showers have been proven to have an amazing effect on your well being and health. Something as simple as rotating the temperature gauge can really have a big improvement on your life.
1. They Boost Your Immune Function
One of the most important benefits of cold showers is the fact that they increase your immunity.
Scientific studies have found that taking a cold shower increases the amount of white blood cells in your body. These blood cells protect your body against diseases.
Even a few seconds under the cold tap can bring huge benefits.
2. Build Strong Will Power
Doing something you are so resistant to, every single day, right when you wake up, takes a lot of mental strength. And overtime, this mental strength and discipline will become an automated habit that echos into every area of your life.
It takes a strong mind to endure the cold for extended periods of time. By incorporating cold showers into your daily routine, you are strengthening your willpower, which benefits many aspects of (your) daily life.
3. Reduce Stress Levels
Cold showers can help. Seriously, cold showers train your nervous system to be more resilient to stress.
Regularly taking cold showers imposes a small amount of stress on your body, which leads to a process called hardening. This means that your nervous system gradually gets used to handling moderate levels of stress. The hardening process helps you to keep a cool head, the next time you find yourself in a stressful situation.
4. Speed up Metabolism
People who take a daily cold shower show an increase in metabolism for one main reason – increased activation in brown adipose tissue (good fat) which is used to generate heat and insulate us against the cold. It’s the type of fat we want and kicking it into action boosts metabolism.
5. They Improve Circulation
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.
6. Higher Level of Alertness
Cold showers wake your body up, inducing a higher state of alertness. The cold also stimulates you to take deeper breaths, decreasing the level of CO2 throughout the body, helping you concentrate. Cold showers thus keep you ready and focused throughout the day.
7. Improve Your Skin and Hair
If you’re not motivated by feeling better, then be motivated by looking better. One of the best ways to improve your skin (and hair) is by taking cold showers. Plus it’s free!
Cold water can help our skin by preventing it from losing too many natural oils. And your hair gets the same benefit.
Along with that, one of the benefits of cold showers is how they will help your hair appear shiny, strong and healthy by keeping the follicles flat and increasing their grip to the scalp. This is great news for any of you who are scared of losing your hair!
8. Stimulate Weight Loss
Another way cold showers will make you look better, is by promoting fat loss.
Most people don’t know this, but there are two types of fat in your body. Brown fat and white fat. White fat is bad. It’s the body fat that we all hate so much. Brown fat is good. It’s function is to generate heat and keep your body warm.
Research has shown that cold showers (and exposure to cold in general), in addition to increasing metabolic rate directly, stimulate the generation of brown fat. Cold showers, then, are an effective tool for people who are looking to lose a few pounds.
9. A Free Energy Boost
Cold showers stimulate our sympathetic nervous system which is responsible for our ‘fight-or-flight’ response to danger. This triggers a hormone release which is felt as an adrenaline rush and that’s why cold showers leave you buzzing every time.
10. Boost Male Fertility and Testosterone
Listen up, guys. Hot showers can be lovely but they can have a significant lowering impact on proteins in your testes. Plus, a cold shower can boost sperm count.
There’s evidence showing high water temperature exposure – like baths, jacuzzis and hot showers – can reduce male fertility. Testicles need a cool environment to operate optimally and a cold shower delivers exactly that.
11. Make You Sleep Better
Ironically, while cold showers wake you up in the AM, cold therapy is one of the best ways to get an incredible nights sleep.
It’s like getting hit with an elephant tranquilizer, even if the melatonin is omitted. Don’t expect it to be pleasant at first.
12. They Just Make You a Happier Person
Researches show that even a 30- to 60-second hot-to-cold shower can decrease the number of sick days, help you sleep better, make you more productive and help your self-esteem.
Limits and Risks
Cold showers are not a magical cure-all for any condition. They should be used as a supplement to traditional treatments, but not as a replacement.
If you’re feeling sick, have recently been released from the hospital, or are otherwise immune-compromised, wait to try out cold showers. While the cold shower habit is beneficial for most people, the habit takes some getting used to. The body may be taxed by the process of getting used to it.
Three Tips to Make Cold Showers Easy and Enjoyable
- Tip #1 – easy does it: Start with a normal shower and reduce the temperature for a minute before reverting to warm. Do this a couple of times during your shower.
- Tip #2 – cold finish: Have a normal shower but this time finish with 60–90 seconds under the cool tap.
- Tip #3 – total immersion: Dive in and go cold from the off. Psych yourself up and know you’ll feel great afterwards. Remember, it’s only the first 10 seconds that are hard and you’ll be reaping the benefits for the rest of the day.