There are many benefits of cold showers and they 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.
So in this article you’ll not only learn why to take them, but also how to start doing them, as they will pose a challenge in the beginning.
So let’s go and check out the benefits of cold showers.
Benefits of cold showers
These are not all the benefits of cold showers as the list is somewhat longer, but these are the ones that will probably be the most important for you.
Improve fat loss
In a future article I will go more indepth about the topic of fat and cells. Now the short version, we have have different kind of fat cells, white, beige and brown. Brown fat or BAT is primarily found around your collar bones, neck, upper back and sternum.
What makes BAT special is that it is active, it can generate heat by burning the regular white fat that is found on your stomach, hips, legs and butt.
These results suggest that BAT is involved in cold-induced increases in whole-body energy expenditure (Yoneshiro et al., 2011).
Build strong will power
Think about it. Willingly doing something everyday, that you are very resistant to takes a lot of mental strength. You will want to quit as soon as the cold water hits your skin, but you shouldn’t. You need to stick it out and plow through it.
It’s literally a mind over matter thing that will build a lot of mental strength. Mental strength that over time becomes a habit, and can seep into other areas of your life.
Refines hair and skin
Cold water is actually better for your skin and hair. because unlike hot water, it does not dry them out.
Hot water opens up your skin pores. This allows you to cleanse them effectively, but it’s important to close your pores again with cold water. This prevents your pores from being clogged by oil and dirt, which promotes acne-causing bacteria.
Showering with cold water also prevents the loss of sebum. This strengthens your hair and prevents hair loss.
Reduce muscle soreness and increase recovery
One of the benefits of cold showers is that they increase your circulation, minimizing inflammation and helping you recover faster.
In fact, cold-water appears to be significantly more effective than rest in relieving delayed-onset muscle soreness, which typically occurs one to four days after exercise or other physical activity.
In one study, after analyzing 17 trials involving over 360 people who either rested or immersed themselves in cold water after resistance training, cycling or running, researchers found the cold-water baths were much more effective in relieving sore muscles one to four days after exercise (Bleakley et al., 2012)
While they don’t “cure” depression, one of the noted benefits of cold showers is that they offer some relief when it comes to symptoms of depression.
Cold showers stimulate the body to produce more noradrenaline – a chemical which plays a role in alleviating depression.
The mild electroshock delivered to the brain by the cold shower sends an overwhelming amount of electrical impulses from peripheral nerve endings to the brain. This results in an antidepressive effect as there is a high density of cold receptors in the skin, much more than there are for registering warmth.
Cold hydrotherapy can relieve depressive symptoms rather effectively. The therapy was also found to have a significant analgesic effect and it does not appear to have noticeable side effects or cause dependence (Shevchuk, N. A. 2008).
One of the most important benefits of cold showers is the fact that they increase your immunity.
A study from England showed that taking regular cold showers increases the amount of disease fighting white blood cells, compared to that of those who take regular hot showers.
Another study from Germany came to the conclusion that winter swimmers have improved antioxidant protection, compared to the control group (Siems et al., 1999).
Cold exposure has an effect on cellular longevity by similar mTOR pathways as caloric restriction and intermittent fasting. Basically, you can think of it as a combination of simultaneously increasing your cell’s hardiness and health.
- Yoneshiro, T., Aita, S., Matsushita, M., Kameya, T., Nakada, K., Kawai, Y., & Saito, M. (2011). Brown adipose tissue, whole‐body energy expenditure, and thermogenesis in healthy adult men. Obesity, 19(1), 13-16. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20448535
- Bleakley, C., McDonough, S., Gardner, E., Baxter, D. G., Hopkins, T. J., Davison, G. W., & Costa, M. T. (2012). Cold-water immersion (cryotherapy) for preventing and treating muscle soreness after exercise. Sao Paulo Medical Journal, 130(5), 348-348. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD008262.pub2/abstract
- Shevchuk, N. A. (2008). Adapted cold shower as a potential treatment for depression. Medical hypotheses, 70(5), 995-1001. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S030698770700566X
- Siems, W. G., Brenke, R., Sommerburg, O., & Grune, T. (1999). Improved antioxidative protection in winter swimmers. Qjm, 92(4), 193-198. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10396606
- Siems, W. G., van Kuijk, F. J., Maass, R., & Brenke, R. (1994). Uric acid and glutathione levels during short-term whole body cold exposure. Free Radical Biology and Medicine, 16(3), 299-305. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0891584994900302