We have all heard of the term “taking a cold shower” and it is normally associated with an unpleasant wakeup call or curing a hangover; both decidedly uncomfortable situations…
However, were you aware that cold showers can actually provide you with a surprising number of health benefits? This is one of the reasons why these techniques have been used for centuries by health-conscious, biohacking individuals. While they were not necessarily aware of the specific advantages, our modern technology has allowed us to analyse the effects of cold showers in order to shed some light on why this strange practice could actually represent one of the best health decisions you can make. Let’s take a closer look.
Boosting Those Endorphins
Have you been feeling down or even depressed in recent times? If so, you will be happy to learn that taking cold showers can help to increase the amount of endorphins that your body produces. These “positive” chemicals will help to improve your emotional mood as well as your perceived energy levels. The good news is that even short showers seem to help. According to one study, taking a five-minute shower two or three times each week can produce noticeable results. It is also thought that cold showers may act as a form of mild electroshock therapy (without any of the negative effects!).
Maximising Your Metabolism
Our bodies contain two types of fat. White fat is attributed to issues such as heart disease and obesity. Brown fat on the contrary, is known for its health benefits. Coincidentally, exposure to cold temperatures for brief time periods can help to activate the beneficial features of brown fat. This is why some researchers surmise that taking cold showers may be able to aid in weight loss programmes. However, keep in mind that you will also need to adopt other healthy lifestyle habits in order to achieve the desired results.
You might have already been aware that cold showers can help to improve circulation. This arises from the simple fact that the body is forced to work harder in order to maintain its core temperature. Cold water can also be used to alleviate acute injuries. This is why athletes have been icing certain portions of their bodies for centuries in order to reduce inflammation. The heart is forced to work harder; therefore delivering freshly oxygenated blood to your extremities. Not only can this help to reduce recovery times, but your body will also eliminate certain toxins faster than would otherwise be possible.
Immune System Advantages
The human body is truly a wonder due to its ability to adapt to adverse conditions. For example, it will produce certain cells called leukocytes in order to fight off infections. It has been shown that cold showers help to stimulate the ability of your body to produce these virus-busting cells. In other words, exposure to cold water can help you build a stronger resistance to illnesses such as the common cold. Believe it or not, specific research has hinted that cold showers may even reduce the incidences of some forms of cancer.
Are There Any Possible Risks?
We need to point out that cold showers should never be used as a replacement for a specific treatment. They are instead intended to work in conjunction with your additional health regimen. Those with heart conditions, who are taking specific medications or who may have recently overcome a serious illness should always consult with their physician before beginning the routines outlined above.
To many people cold showers may also not be the most pleasant experience; particularly if you are not accustomed to such drastic measures. This is why it may be a good idea to start off flow; perhaps taking a shower that lasts only one or two minutes until you become acclimated to the feeling.
It is still a fact that cold showers are a great life hack if you are concerned about your health or if you simply wish to take preventative measures in order to stave off any potential illnesses. So, take the plunge and experience the benefits! The chances are high that you will be impressed with what is in store.
Next generation personal trainer and co-founder of Trion