Today Americans are obsessed with living comfortably. And it’s not that I think comfortable living is a bad thing. I just think too much of a good thing can have negative side effects in our lives. Take the warm shower for example, people rarely think about how showers can contribute to our health outside the realms of hygiene. We impetuously climb in our tubs, turn up the heat and wash away. Done.
However, the practice of taking warm showers is relatively new. In ancient times, people bathed in lakes and rivers. Ancient Greeks who developed heating systems for their public baths, still preferred to bathe in cold water. Russians bathed in icy rivers for health and spiritual cleansing. And Japanese practitioners of Shinto perform misogi under freezing waterfalls.
It wasn’t until the 20th century before warm showers became more prevalent in American homes. Up until this point, most of the world viewed cold showers as a norm.
I believe as a society we’ve grown to like our comfort zones a little too much. Taking a few cold showers throughout the week is a simple way we can begin transforming into the strongest version of ourselves while reaping all the benefits the cold has to offer.
Cold Showers Benefits:
1. Improved Circulation
Stimulate your circulatory system with a cold shower. Your blood will flow more freely resulting in a stronger cardiovascular system over time.
2. Strengthened Immune System
A study conducted by the English Thrombosis Research Institute, discovered that people who took daily cold showers were able to fight off viruses and colds much more effectively. Your body will naturally produce more white blood cells in the process.
Also, check out Wim Hof’s cold therapy method for more information on strengthening the body’s immune system.
3. Speedy Muscle Recovery
Perhaps you’ve heard of Lebron taking ice baths after a game. The benefits to this are mostly associated with recovery and or relieving delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
4. Healthier Skin & Hair
Hot water opens pores and leaves your skin and hair dry. Cold water hydrates and moisturizes. It also allows toxins and waste to wash away from the scalp, leaving your hair refreshed and smooth.
5. Burn Fat
Not all fats are created equally. The two types to keep in mind are: white and brown fat. No one wants stubborn white fat (aka belly fat). Brown fat is the good fat, which generates heat to keep our bodies warm, and is activated when exposed to extreme cold. Taking cold showers activates your brown fat which can help burn stubborn white fat. One study found that cold showers increase the brown fat found on your upper neck, chest, and shoulders by up the 15 times the normal amount.
6. Increased Alertness
Take a cold shower right now and you’ll know what I mean.
7. Relieves Stress
The feeling after a cold shower is always an invigorating experience as blood is moved from the surface of your body to the core. After you get over the initial shock of cold water, you’ll be left feeling recharged and energized for the day!
8. Relieves Depression
Recent research at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine indicates that “a short, cold shower can stimulate the brain’s blue spot” by actually increasing production of a chemical called noradrenaline that can work quickly to help you overcome the debilitating effects of depression.
9. Increased Testosterone Levels
Studies have shown that cold water showers increase testosterone production in men.
10. Boosts Mood
When you immerse into cold water, it feels like every nerve in your body is firing. With all these impulses simultaneously activated, your brain will naturally reset, resulting in a mood-boosting effect.
Not convinced yet??
Well, I didn’t say this was going to be easy.
To be honest, I still hesitate every time I go to take a cold shower.
If you’re new to this and don’t want to dive right in, I suggest you ease into it.
Start by showering at a comfortable warm temperature and slowly cool down the water over a 5 minute period. Be patient during this process and don’t back out!
The goal is to make cold showers a lifestyle/habit. Sure it can be a one time thing, but that’s not going to benefit you. Aim to take 2–3 cold showers a week for one month.
- Understand that cold showers are indeed possible. I didn’t think I could do it, but the experience is so rewarding I’ve come to love it.
- You will develop a “bulletproof mind”
Before getting into my first cold shower, it was interesting to see how my mind threw every logical statement at me to stop what I was about to do. Ignore what your mind is telling you and just do it. You learn that you’re tougher than you think.
- Screaming, yelling, and profanity helps — A LOT. Do if you feel the urge. It will help you cope with the cold
- BREATHE. This is critical. Your body’s natural reaction will be to clam up resulting in shallow breathes. Take deep breaths and try to remain focused. Don’t fight it and don’t run away. Learn to embrace it until you’ve mastered the cold.
- Improved Circulation
- Boosts Immune System
- Speed up Muscle Recovery
- Healthier Skin & Hair
- Burn Fat
- Increased Alertness
- Relieves Stress
- Relieves Depression
- Increased Testosterone Levels
- Boosts Mood
If you want to feel alive and awake, if you want to get out of your comfort zone, if you want to become more fearless. Next time you shower go take a cold shower.
Start today and take the plunge.