There are many things we can do to live a healthier lifestyle, and whilst some are fun and logical others sound horrific and wacky. Indeed, the practice of having daily cold showers might appear to be more aligned with the latter.
The idea of replacing a long, warm, steamy shower with a short blast of icy cold water – particularly first thing in the morning, is not a thought many relish. Indeed, we only tend to experience this when we have hot water system problems yet there are many health benefits to taking cold showers, some of which we will look at in this article.
In short, the long-term health benefits would appear to outweigh the short-term pain. Indeed, fans of the phrase “no pain no gain” will love the concept of having a cold shower in order to boost physical well being, productivity, and one’s mental fortitude.
Here are several reasons why incorporating cold showers in your life could provide a number of significant mental and physical health benefits:
It’s easy to see how taking a cold shower in the morning might leave you feeling more alert, but there’s a lot going on beneath the surface, as in response to your body’s shock, the depth and rate of your breathing will increase, thus your oxygen intake will increase dramatically.
In addition, your heart rate will increase, meaning fresh oxygenated blood will be pumped around your entire body.
There’s a lot of recent mention in terms of the benefits of cold showers, yet this is not something new, as Katherine Hepburn took ice-cold baths throughout her life — due to the high level of energy she reported having as a result.
Speeds up muscle recover
It’s common for athletes to take an ice bath after intense training in order to reduce muscle soreness; yet a quick cold shower, can be just as effective in terms of stimulating one’s metabolism and relieving the aches and pains that are associated with delayed-onset muscle soreness.
Apparently, a 24 minute cold water bath at a temperature of 10 to 15 degree celsius (50 to 59 degrees fahrenheit) are the optimal conditions, yet a short sharp cold shower is better than nothing.
Furthermore, there’s evidence to suggest cold showers have a general analgesic effect on the body; for instance they are particularly good at relieving tension headaches due to the blood that subsequently rushes to the brain in order to protect it from the cold water.
Cold showers have been known to help with depression due to the stimulating impact on cold receptors in the skin, that basically send an overwhelming electrical impulse from the nerve endings back to the brain; thus producing an anti-depressive effect that helps boost mood.
Indeed, a study published by a molecular biologist, Nikolai Shevchuk, found evidence that cold showers can help alleviate the symptoms of depression to the extent they may be more effective than antidepressants — on the basis exposure to cold water helps flood your brain with neurotransmitters, which is perhaps why surfers and those that swim in cold water each day, are often so cheerful and grounded.