6 huge benefits of cold showers

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
You might feel like this in the begining

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).

Benefits of cold showers

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)

Relieve depression

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).

Improve immunity

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.

Hardening is the exposure to a natural, e.g., thermal stimulus, resulting in an increased tolerance to stress, e.g., diseases. Exposure to repeated intensive short-term cold stimuli is often applied in hydrotherapy, which is used in physical medicine for hardening (Siems et al., 1994).

How to approach it

So if you want to reap the benefits of cold showers I suggest you start moderately. Instead of jumping into the shower, turning the temperature to ice cold and having a heart attack, you should ease into it.

Slowly lowering the temperature and increasing the duration.

Now you can do the regular straight cold water method, or the so called James Bond shower. The 007 shower starts out warm then slowly transitions and end it on cold.

But which ever method you choose to do, just gather some courage and give it a try, you just might find out it enhances your wellbeing.

REFERENCES

  1. 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. Obesity19(1), 13-16. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20448535
  2. 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 Journal130(5), 348-348. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD008262.pub2/abstract
  3. Shevchuk, N. A. (2008). Adapted cold shower as a potential treatment for depression. Medical hypotheses70(5), 995-1001. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S030698770700566X
  4. Siems, W. G., Brenke, R., Sommerburg, O., & Grune, T. (1999). Improved antioxidative protection in winter swimmers. Qjm92(4), 193-198. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10396606
  5. 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 Medicine16(3), 299-305. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0891584994900302

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Author: Ivan Vlahinić

I am not a scientist. But i don’t have to be a scientist to be able to deftly use the scientific method in your daily life. In fact, you can be one helluva ‘thinker’ (in the scientific sense) and not be a scientist. For instance, nutritionists and personal trainers like me, who use and embrace science and the scientific method are better trainers because of it. Why? Because rather than just being a parrot and telling my clients what to do, because that’s what I have been told when I was younger I understand the “why” of my advice. And if I dont? Then I fully admit that i don’t, and that’s fine. The more you learn in the field of fitness and nutrition, the more you realize there is a lot of stuff that you dont know. But this is something that is true of all fields of work or life. The scientific method is the single most powerful way of thinking, that’s why I embrace it. Anecdotes are nice, but data and facts trumps anecdotes.

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