It’s happened to everyone at one point or another. We go into the bathroom, turn on the shower and to our horror, all the hot water is gone, leaving us with a cold and uncomfortable experience instead of the hot and steamy shower we are accustomed to and consider the norm.
In the western world, we have the luxury of having access to hot water and many of us can take this for granted. Most people wouldn’t dream of taking a cold shower if they had the choice, but having cold showers actually has many benefits to our physical as well as our mental health.
Here are 8 cold shower benefits
1. Increases alertness
Having a quick cold shower first thing in the morning is a great way to perk you up and increase your alertness .The cold water running over the body deepens our breathing in response to the shock we are feeling and ironically, helps keep us warm. This deep breathing increases our overall oxygen intake as well as increasing our heart rate, releasing a rush of blood through our entire body, leaving us feeling energized and ready for the day ahead.
2. Improves immunity and circulation
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A cold shower can improve your overall blood circulation by encouraging blood to surround your organs. As cold water hits the body, its ability to get blood circulating leads the arteries to more efficiently pump blood, therefore boosting our overall heart health, according to Dr. Joseph Mercola, a natural health expert. It can also lower blood pressure, clear blocked arteries, and improve our immune system. Cold showers also release virus-fighting white blood cells which helps prevent us from getting sick.
3. It burns fat and stimulate weight loss
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Cold showers are a great way to help aid with weight loss which is handy because they’re completely free! Our bodies contain two types of fat tissue which are white fat and brown fat. White fat builds up if we consume more calories than our body needs to function and our body doesn’t burn these calories to function. This fat accumulates at our waists, lower back, neck and thighs and is the fat we go to the gym to burn off. Brown fat is the good fat which generates heat to keep our bodies warm and is activated when we are exposed to extreme cold. Brown fat burns calories and thus assists with weight loss.
4. Can give you more attractive skin and hair
If you want to reduce the appearance of acne or blemishes, a cold shower might be just the thing for you. Cold water prevents pores from becoming clogged, tightens cuticles and helps the skin by preventing it from losing natural oils, while hot water has the tendency to dry out the skin. Cold showers also make the hair appear more shiny, stronger and healthier by flattening hair follicles and increasing their ability to grip the scalp.
5. Speeds up muscle soreness and recovery
Many athletes take an ice bath after a game or vigorous training and they do this to reduce muscle soreness. This ice bath helps to relieve delayed-onset muscle soreness which means it helps prevent muscle soreness and cramps, post physical activity. You don’t have to take it to this extreme, but a quick cold shower after a training session or workout at the gym can be just as effective in relieving muscle soreness.
6. Relieves depression
Cold showers offer relief for symptoms of depression as they stimulate what is known as “the blue spot,” which is the brains primary source of noradrenaline – a chemical which plays a role in alleviating depression. Plus 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, which could result in an anti-depressive effect. The next time you’re feeling a little down, try a quick cold shower for a pick- me- up!
7. Eases stress
After a long hard day, many people run a hot bath and soak themselves and there are many products such as bubble baths and gels which are marketed as stress relievers, but a cold shower may be more effective. Hoping into the shower without letting the water heat up can help promote hardening, increasing tolerance to stress and even disease. A 1994 study found a drastic decrease in uric acid levels during and following exposure to a cold stimulus. There was also an increase in gluthathione, an antioxidant that keeps all other antioxidants performing at their optimal levels. The participants, who were 10 healthy people who swam regularly in ice-cold water during the winter, adapted to repeated oxidative stress.
8. It drains your lymphatic system
The lymphatic system is part of the circulatory system and is a vital part of the immune system. The lymphatic system helps carry out waste from your cells and is key in defending your body from various infections, colds and joint pains. Cold showers, when alternated between hot and cold will help your lymphatic system, by contracting the lymph vessels when exposed to the cold and relaxing them when exposed to the heat. This essentially pumps the fluid that may have stagnated in your lymph vessels out, resulting in a stronger immune system.