The Untold Truth of Cold Showers
Months ago, my husband turned all Wim Hof on me. He complained so much about the cold showers I had to try them. I pride myself with having more willpower so it became a competition.
I’ve now been taking cold showers for nearly 2 months. I don’t plan on stopping. I started to see what my husband was complaining about but kept doing it because …I like it.
I never thought I’d say that. I’m freezing most of the time so liking cold showers is well outside my comfort zone.
These are the benefits I’ve personally noticed.
Cold showers increase energy.
Each morning, I brush my teeth, wash my face and head downstairs for a cup of freshly pressed coffee. After having a cup with my husband, I take a shower. At this time, I still feel tired. I’m not energetic, I’m just going through the motions.
Then I jump into a cold shower and I’m alive! No, that’s not how it happens.
I start the shower like I normally would. I enjoy hot showers. I take a hot shower and wash. Then at the end of my shower, I turn the water cold. I stand under the cold shower for around a minute and get out.
After I dry off, I feel increased energy.
Cold showers increase relaxation.
I wake up with a to do list swirling in my mind. When I first wake up, I fight the urge to look at my phone. During my morning coffee, I fight the urge to look at email. I write in the five minute journal. I set my expectations for the day. Then, I take a shower.
The to do list becomes more manageable. I don’t look at tasks as daunting anymore. I have a clear sense of accomplishing one thing at a time.
I come downstairs and greet my children happily.
Cold showers make food taste better.
You probably think I’m off my rocker with this one. I don’t blame you.
I’ve noticed that eating breakfast after a cold shower allows me to savor it. I actually taste the food.
This morning I had eggs over easy with a side of sourdough bread. I savored the taste of the bread dipped in the yolk. Typically I eat quickly so I can get to other things.
But after a cold shower, food just tastes better.
Cold showers reduce pain and inflammation.
I’ve been working a desk job for 20 years now. Over time, bad posture as well as lack of breaks have resulted in tech neck. I stretch daily to reduce pain and uncomfort.
When I wake up, the pain is at it’s absolute worst. I sleep with a towel rolled up in my pillow for additional neck support. It’s not enough. I stretch before drinking coffee but I’m still in pain.
Cold showers make the pain manageable. It hasn’t completely resolved the pain but it’s definitely helped.
During the cold shower, my pain subsides. Afterwards, it’s more manageable.
Intrigued with how I was feeling, I decided to research cold therapy.
The benefits of cold therapy include:
→ Reduced inflammation
→ Reduced swelling
→ Reduced sore muscles
→ Improved sleep
→ Improved focus
→ Improved immune response
That explained the improvement with my tech neck but it wasn’t enough. I wanted to understand if there were any weight loss effects from cold showers.
Studies show that once “activated” by cold temperatures, just two ounces of brown fat can burn through as many as 500 calories per day in an effort to elevate body temperature. Research also shows that women seem to have more brown fat then men, probably for the same reason.
SOLD! If I could eventually increase fat loss, I was all in.
But, there’s more.
When you’re done with the cold shower, your skin has a strange affect. It’s cold to the touch but you’re warm inside. It’s almost a burning sensation. Not in an I-need-to-see-a-doctor way, in a good way.
The best part, and possibly, my number one reason for continuing is…
I don’t feel cold when I get out of the shower.
After a hot shower, you quickly grab your towel. You shiver. You wish you had a heated towel. All of that is gone when you have a cold shower. You’re not cold when you get out.
You are not cold after a cold shower.
Clearly, I find that fascinating. I hate the feeling of being cold after a hot shower. Now I get the best of both. I take a hot shower, then I switch to cold, I get the cold water benefits and I’m not cold when I’m done. It’s a win win.
None of this explains why food tastes better. Determined to convince myself I didn’t make it up, I did some more research.
Cold water sends electical impulses to your brain. They jolt your system to increase alertness, clarity and energy levels. Endorphins are also released. This effect leads to feelings of well-being and optimism.
Whether this explains my delicious breakfast, I’m not sure. But I do know we can all benefit from increased feelings of optimism, especially in today’s world.
I want to experience these benefits but I have no desire to step into a freezing shower.
I’m with you. I didn’t either. This is how I started.
How to start taking cold showers:
1. Start with the water at your normal temperature. Lather, rinse, repeat and do what you normally do.
2. Turn the faucet halfway between hot and cold. You will likely make a sound of surprise or shock.
3. After a second or two, turn the water to the coldest setting. You’ll again make some type of audible sound of shock. Then start counting.
I initially started at 10 seconds. Not a 1,2,3,4,5 count. I used mississippi’s for added affect. I lasted 11 seconds my first cold shower. I can now do a minute comfortably.
Here’s a secret tip:
There are certain areas that are more sensitive to cold. Start with the opposite. For example, I start with my back in the water. This is more comfortable than submerging my front. For my husband, it’s the exact opposite. This may be a man/woman thing but I’m not making any assumptions. See what works for you.
When you turn off the water, you’ll feel a burning sensation. Your insides will be warm but your skin will be cold.
You’ll realize you’re not cold at all. In fact you’ll feel good. This takes time to achieve. During my initial shower all I could think about was getting the hell out of there.
Now, I know what to expect.
When you hit the 30 second mark, continue taking 30 second cold showers. Once you start to notice your skin doesn’t feel the same, slowly increase your time.
I’m at a minute now and feel fanastic.
I don’t know the max nor do I have a plan to keep increasing. I continue to take a cold shower because I enjoy it.
I enjoy not feeling cold when I get out of the shower. I enjoy feeling energetic. I enjoy feeling relaxed and ready to take on the day. And, I’d by lying if I said I didn’t enjoy the taste of a good breakfast.