The Advantages of A Cold Shower

posted by Marilyn Hyder -

Most people love a warm shower in the morning, but there advantages to taking a cold shower.

It’s never fun when you run out of hot water in the middle of a long, steamy shower. But cold showers are actually great for you. Here are 8 reasons from an article on Care 2 to add a cold shower into your wellness routine.

WAKE UP FASTER.

Coffee has nothing on a cold shower. It’s one of the most stimulating things you can do in the morning. Plus, you don’t have the downside of a caffeine crash later on. Take that, coffee!

REDUCE STRESS AND BOOST METABOLISM.

If you have a lot of stubborn belly fat (from stress), cold showers are a great stress-busting, metabolism-boosting practice. Yes, taking a cold shower in the morning may seem stressful, but on a cellular level it does quite the opposite. It actually works to reduce oxidative stress. In fact, once you step out of a cold shower, you enter a parasympathetic state, which is the body’s rest and relaxation mode.

As for metabolism, rapidly immersing the body in cold temperatures encourages the conversion of unhealthy white fat into metabolism-burning brown fat. That means you’ll burn more calories after a cold shower than a hot one, even after you’ve warmed up.

IMPROVE CIRCULATION.

Cold water stimulates the flow of both blood and lymph in towards the deep vessels of the organs, which helps the body more efficiently remove waste products. This also lends a welcome boost to immunity and heart health. Obviously spending too much time in cold water is not a good thing, because you lose circulation in your extremities, but in moderation it can be extremely healthful.

IMPROVE IMMUNE FUNCTION.

Controlled exposure to cold may boost the immune system by increasing the number of disease-fighting white blood cells in our bodies. In fact, renowned Iceman Wim Hof has shown that he can actually control his immune system through breathing exercises and regular cold exposure. That’s right, cold showers can be powerful.

IMPROVE SKIN AND HAIR HEALTH.

Hot water has the potential to damage delicate hair and skin, especially if you’re fond of scalding showers. In contrast, cold water encourages pores to close up, which means the skin retains more of its healthy natural oil and hair gains a lustrous shine. It’s like a free trip to the spa. You’ll be glowing.

REDUCE INFLAMMATION AND SPEED RECOVERY.

Most people are well aware that professional athletes take ice baths on the regular. That’s because cold water inhibits the production of lactic acid and slows inflammation, the combination of which results in muscle fatigue and soreness. And it’s not just an old wives tale—science is behind the practice, showing that it reduces soreness and inflammation for up to 4 days post-workout.

RELIEVE DEPRESSION.

There isn’t much like cold water to shock the system. According to research, cold showers may stimulate the center of the brain’s primary source of noradrenaline (also called norepinephrine), which can help mitigate depression. Additionally, cold water causes the sensitive nerve endings in the skin to send “an overwhelming amount of electrical impulses from peripheral nerve endings to the brain, which could result in an anti-depressive effect.” In fact, some researchers claim that regular cold showers can even be more effective than antidepressants, though more research is necessary.

REDUCE YOUR ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT.

It’s not that complicated. Fewer hot showers means your hot water boiler works less, which means less oil, gas or electricity use. It may seem minute, but decreasing your use of fossil fuels by any amount is a good thing.

Want the benefits of a cold shower without going hardcore with exclusively cold water? Try a Scottish shower. That means starting with a hot shower, then, before your final rinse, turning it to cold for 20-30 seconds before hopping out. You’ll gain all the benefits of a cold shower with half the discomfort. Plus, it was James Bond’s shower style of choice. That’s right, you too can shower like 007. And you’ll be healthier because of it.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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