Immersing your body in cold water is nothing new, since people have been doing hydrotherapy for centuries. However, you can’t do this at home — you have to go to a specialist who can help you. But anyone can take cold showers at home and enjoy the resulting benefits. They might not be the most comfortable thing in the world, but you can try and see how showering under cold water affects your well-being.
Bright Side would like to inform you about the 5 benefits of cold showers in addition to the cons of hot showers. So stay until the end, and you’ll discover an extra bonus point.
1. They improve blood circulation and reduce muscle soreness.
The moment cold water hits your body, your blood is forced to circulate a lot faster in an effort to maintain its temperature. But cold showers are ideal for athletes as well since they can help them overcome injuries a lot faster. That’s why they use ice on bruised body parts, bringing new oxygen and extra circulation to the affected area.
And you don’t have to be hurt to take a cold shower. You can simply do it after a hard workout, when your body needs to be brought back to life.
2. They reduce itchy and dull skin.
People who have naturally dry skin or suffer from skin conditions, such as eczema, often feel itchy after a hot shower. One way to combat that is to lower the temperature of the water as much as possible. Just don’t stay in the shower for as long as you would with hot water, and you’ll notice that the itching will start going away. You will still need to apply a good moisturizer afterward in order to capture all the moisture, but the itchiness will start going away.
3. They stabilize your metabolism.
Let’s start by saying that brown fat is the kind of fat that all people are born with, and it’s activated by taking cold showers. And by setting it off, the brown fat can help white fat (which is associated with obesity) stay at healthy levels. So taking a cold shower 2-3 days a week can really stabilize and even improve your metabolism.
Of course, you won’t start losing weight just by hopping into a cold shower, as you will first need to make some lifestyle choices. However, cold showers can stabilize certain hormone levels and treat your gastrointestinal system. In that way, along with a balanced diet, they can help with weight loss.
4. They reduce stress and improve your mental health.
The way cold showers work is by inflicting great shock and stress on your body. So if you take them regularly, you start a process that is called hardening. During that time, your nervous system gets used to being “hit” with small amounts of physical stress and prepares you for when really stressful moments arrive. As a result, your body and mind are ready to face any hard situation whenever it appears.
Also, cold water releases endorphins into our bloodstream and, as a result, makes us more alert, energized, and happy. In a clinical trial, it was shown that people suffering from depression were relieved of their symptoms after taking up to 5-minute cold showers 2-3 times per week.
5. They boost your immune system
Cold showers can make your body more resistant to catching a common cold and the seasonal flu. As proof of this, a clinical trial saw a 29% decline in people calling off sick for work after they started taking cold showers. That’s because cold water shocks the body and forces it to produce more leukocytes, which are responsible for shielding our bodies from infection.
BONUS: the cons of hot showers
It’s understandable why you love taking hot showers, especially after a hard day at work. But you should know that the high temperature of the water can create more problems for you.
- It can irritate your skin: Hot water damages the keratin cells that are all over your skin, making it dry and dull. This way, your skin feels irritated and itchy since all the moisture is being kept from entering.
- It can make skin conditions worse: Eczema and acne are quite common in many people, and hot temperatures can worsen their symptoms. That’s because they need extra moisture to calm down, and hot water takes that away.
- It can damage your hair too: These keratin cells aren’t only located on your body, but also on your head. And hot water weakens your hair and, in some people, causes hair loss.
- It can increase blood pressure: Yes, if you are suffering from certain heart conditions or cardiovascular problems, you might want to ditch hot water.
Do you take cold showers often? If so, have you noticed any changes in your physical and mental health?