These 10 health benefits of cold showers should be enough to get you ready to brave the shockingly cold water. The benefits of cold showers seriously outweigh a few minutes of discomfort.
Find your inner hero and step into a cold shower and discover for yourself that there is something great after that initial few minutes of shock.
Cold water showers have been considered good for your health and strength for centuries. The Spartans were fans, and used cold water to enhance their strength for battle.
You may not be planning on going into battle anytime soon, but there are still plenty of health benefits of cold water that should be more than enough to tempt you.
How to get started with cold showers
If you’re healthy, with no active disease ( for example heart issues such as arrhythmia, adrenal fatigue) and don’t have a pace maker, you can try your first cold shower.
If you’re under any doubt you should consult with your health provider, otherwise choose a day to start and literally take the plunge.
A great way to begin to enjoy the health benefits of a cold shower is to set the water just slightly cold on the first day.
On following days add slightly cooler water and see how you recover from the session.
Begin with 10 seconds of cold water and gradually work up to a 1-2 minutes as you tolerate it and recover well.
The water should be cold, but it doesn’t have to be icy. Indeed, plunging into extremely cold water is not good for you and should be avoided.
10 Health benefits of cold showers
When you take a cold shower the cold water causes your body to react to the stress. It’s long been noted that the practice of stressing your body from time to time is beneficial.
Moreover, giving your body stress has been proved to stimulate the immune system. This is the science behind why other stress inducing practices can be so beneficial.
Other beneficial forms of stress
So successful is this stress inducing fast that it has been shown to be able to protect cancer patients against toxicity, when done immediately before they began chemotherapy. (1)
Our bodies are not only able to naturally deal with stress, they can actually thrive on it when the stress is managed and short term.
However, if going without food for a few days isn’t where you want to go, there are other ways of inducing healthy stress; taking a cold water shower is one of the most popular ways to do this.
There are multiple benefits to standing under cold water, and here we’ll take a look at the top 10 health benefits of cold showers
10 Health Benefits of Cold Showers: #1 Makes you tough
Perhaps the least scientific benefit, but there’s a mountain of anecdotal evidence that taking a cold shower helps you to develop your will power and take charge of what is going to happen to your body.
This feeling of mastery has been shown to lift your mood, and motivate you to get on top of other issues you may have in your life too.
This hardening isn’t just limited to your will power either, but seems to have both cognitive and physical benefits.
This study proved that by hardening your body to stress you become physically more able to deal with actual diseases too.
Moreover, when there is an increase in the feeling that you can cope with discomfort, there is more readiness to take on a challenge, or to face an unpleasant task.
Most people who practice taking cold showers enjoy knowing that they can discipline themselves and deal with issues they may have been putting off. They learn to deal with short term discomfort for long term benefit.
When you feel in charge of your environment and body, you feel happier and less anxious.
Further, you help your body to practice dealing with stress, both in the environment, and at a physical level.
#2 Cold water showers can help to lift depression
This study also found that there was a lessening of depression after subjects took cold showers (20c) once or twice a day for two months.
The study noted that the exposure to the cold shower was able to activate the sympathetic nervous system and increase the blood level of Beta Endorphin and noradrenaline. Further, noradrenaline was released in the brain as well.
Moreover, when cold water hits your skin, hundreds of thousands of cold receptors jolt awake. They send electrical impulses from your nerve endings to your brain.
These extra impulses are the trigger for the anti depressant effect of cold showers.
#3 Cold water showers can speed up metabolism
The practice of taking a cold shower has been proven to increase your metabolism and ability to burn fat through thermogenesis.
When cold showers are taken regularly, they help to active a special kind of fat known as brown fat. Brown fat helps protect us from aging, fights obesity and reduces the risk of degenerative disease (2).
Plus, when brown fat is activated it is known to cause an improvement in metabolic rate, as well as helping with insulin sensitivity.
This study demonstrated that cold showers could activate brown fat by a 15-fold increase. This could cause someone to lose up to nine pounds in a year if they kept this practice up. (with no other changes)
#4 You get sick less often
This study showed that when adults regularly took a cold shower, alternating with warm water, they took far fewer sick days than their less hardy colleagues.
Overall there was an impressive 29% reduction in sickness absence for the hot/cold shower regimen compared to the control group.
#5 Cold showers improve circulation and lymphatics
Cold showers (including alternating hot/cold showers) have a great effect on the circulation and lymphatic systems.
While using warm water, blood vessels expand, and then constrict when hit with cold water. This helps to strengthen blood vessels and increases the ability to send blood quickly to wherever its needed.
Moreover, its not just blood vessels that experience this dilating/contracting effect when exposed to hot and cold showers. The whole body will react in the same way.
When the body does this, it dramatically improved lymphatic flow throughout the entire body.
This whole body contracting helps to move metabolic waste products and environmental toxins out of the skin.
#6 Cold showers help boost benefits of Intermittent Fasting and the keto diet
The keto diet has amazing weight loss and health benefits. When combined with Intermittent fasting, these benefits are even better.
Intermittent fasting is a way of stressing the body which promotes autophagy .
Both the keto diet and intermittent fasting are powerful techniques for health, and when you add in a regime of cold or cold/hot showers, you are going to get the best of all three methods.
These three methods work well together. Your metabolism and ability to burn fat will both benefit when combining them all.
This will give you maximum results for your weight loss and health goals.
#7 Improves your skin and hair
As already said, cold water will constrict blood flow. This will have the effect of giving your skin a healthy glow.
However, the benefits don’t end there. Cold water is much better for your skin than hot water which will dry out the sebum layer.
This sebum layer is the lubricated barrier that acts as protection for both your skin and your hair. Cold water showers will protect this layer, and won’t dry it out.
When it comes to your hair, cold water has benefits too. A cold water shower will close and strengthen the hair cuticles which will make your hair smoother, shinier and stronger
#8 Cold Water showers improve heart health
When you feel the cold water hit your body, the blood circulation becomes more efficient and this benefits the health of the heart.
Dr Mercola has shown that cold water showers can also lower blood pressure and clear blocked arteries, as well as improve the immune system.
Cold water is able to trigger the circulation system to both reduce inflammation and help to prevent cardiovascular disease.
#9 Cold water speeds up muscle recovery after exercise
Cold water showers help to reduce muscle soreness after a work out. The cold water will also help with delayed muscle soreness for up to four days.
This study 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.
There are now many studies proving that cold water has a relaxing and healing action on muscles. This makes taking a cold shower after the gym a great way of keeping your muscles healthy.
#10 cold showers can increase testosterone levels
It takes just a small amount of heat to affect the DNA, RNA and protein synthesis in the testes
One study found that 15 minutes of increased heat in rat testes led to a significant decrease in testosterone. They suggested that cold temperatures could reverse the effect.
Further, cold showers are able to increase sperm count and increase fertility. This study demonstrated that cold showers could also reverse the effects of hot baths when the sperm count has been reversed.
The thought of a cold shower may have you shivering even before you’ve got to the bathroom.
However, with so many health benefits, it’s more than worth the effort and discomfort of a few minutes of being cold.
Start by just moving the water control down a few degrees, and staying under the water for a minute or two. Slowly increase your time and lower the temperature as you become used to the cold.
Even if you dislike the feeling of the cold water, you’ll soon find that you feel more relaxed and alert afterwards.
Plus if you’re following the keto diet and/or intermittent fasting, a cold shower will work well with these practices.
All three together will super charge your health and weight loss goals.