Last Updated on March 14, 2021 by admin
In the sweltering heat of summertime, taking a cold shower feels pretty darn good. Any other time of the year? Not so much. By only taking cold showers after physical activity or in warm weather, are you doing yourself a disservice? After all, you’ve heard cold showers can be good for you, but you’re just not sure. Is it true?
Cold showers are indeed good for you, as they carry with them a whole host of health benefits, including:
- Triggering your body to lose weight
- Inducing sleep
- Reducing depression symptoms
- Improving the look of hair and skin
- Boosting your immune system
- Encouraging muscle recovery at a quicker rate
- Aiding fertility and sperm count
- Lessening stress
- Allowing the body to experience fewer infections
Are you surprised that cold showers can do all that? You shouldn’t be. In this article, we’ll elaborate more on the many perks of cold showers we listed above. By the time you’re done reading, you’ll want to start cranking that cold knob every day.
The Benefits of Cold Showers
If you’re looking to shed a few pounds, the next time you bathe, try a cold shower. You could just lose some weight for your efforts.
How does this work? Well, our body has both white and brown fat, and it’s not all the same. According to a 2013 article from the NIH Director’s Blog, the white fat in our bodies retains fat for energy purposes. Our brown fat does not, burning off the fat so it can create heat. We don’t have as much brown fat in our bodies in adulthood as we do when we’re first born, but it is there.
By changing our white fat into brown fat instead, we could lose weight. Since brown fat is intended to provide warmth, it makes sense that by showering at cold temps, our brown fat begins working, torching calories and helping us look trimmer. How Many Calories Does a Cold Shower Burn?
More and Better Sleep
In Tim Ferriss’ book The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman, Ferriss writes about the relationship between sleep and cold showers. He says that by exposing our bodies to an ice bath (so a cold bath rather than a shower, exposure to cold) for 10 minutes, we will soon become very sleepy. No more tossing and turning, just straight to dreamland.
It’s maybe not as comfy cozy as sipping warm milk, but hey, it works. The next time you’re up later than you want, draw yourself a bath and make sure it’s cold. You might just fall asleep very soon!
Lower Rates of Depression
Interesting data from 2008 in the journal Medical Hypotheses noted the role that chilly water can have on those with depression. While not a cure-all by any means, by showering in cold water instead of warm or hot H2O, the brain receives more electrical impulses. This can play a role in the severity of depression symptoms.
Now, cold in this case doesn’t mean freezing. The participants in the study showered in 68-degree water (that’s Fahrenheit, by the way). They did this for increments of up to three minutes and then extended that to five minutes. You don’t even have to have the cold water running during your entire shower, then.
More Attractive Hair and Skin
You probably care closely for your hair and skin, but did you know the temperature of your shower can also help or hinder your appearance? Cold water allows your pores to become tighter, including on the scalp and other areas of skin. This keeps your skin cleaner (as the closed pores repel dirt) and looking better. Compare that to taking hot showers, when your pores are not only wide open, but your skin tends to dry out from the high temperature as well.
Healthier Immune System
Like our pores can open and close depending on whether you take your showers hot or cold, our blood vessels can do the same. When they’re more open, they’re dilated. Closed blood vessels are referred to as being constricted. You want your blood vessels to both dilate and constrict, and switching between hot and cold water during the same shower can do just that. This keeps your immune system in tip-top shape.
Faster Muscle Recovery
If you exercise a lot and you want fewer sore muscles and quicker muscle recovery, then when you hit the showers, keep things cold. It turns out that the same blood vessel dilation and constriction can benefit our muscles as well. This blood vessel movement will lessen our chances of bruising and/or swelling.
As for muscle recovery, the inflammation our bodies have from exercise gets soothed by the cold water. This encourages our muscle recovery. It also lessens pain from a particularly tough workout.
Higher Sperm Count and Better Fertility
If you’re serious about starting a family soon, then you might want to rethink your showers. Fertility can take a hit when bathing in hot water or enjoying hot tub use regularly.
A 2007 study from the International Brazilian Journal of Urology proved as much. The researchers followed a handful of participants, all males, over a three-week span. Each day, they men bathed in hot water for 30 minutes. The researchers found these men had a period of infertility from the hot water that lasted for upwards of six months. That’s quite a long time!
Luckily, further data suggests that fertility and sperm count both go up during cold showers. In fact, it’s even possible to shorten the infertility period caused by showering in hot water.
If you’re feeling more stressed out than usual, make sure you’re watching the temps you shower in. Cold water works to sooth away our stress in several ways. First, our bodies produce more glutathione. This antioxidant comes from archaea, bacteria, fungi, animals, and plants. It keeps our cells healthy by safeguarding us from heavy metal, lipid peroxide, and free radical damage. Glutathione can also control stress.
We also make less uric acid when taking regular cold showers. A type of heterocyclic compound, uric acid is composed of hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon. It’s a part of our urine and may play a role in our stress.
Further, according to data in QJM, our bodies can build up a type of response against stress through cold showers. It’s our nervous system that does this. Essentially, showering in cold water stresses out our bodies, at least at first. When we overcome this oxidative stress, our brains and bodies know how to handle stressful situations better in the future.
No one wants to get bogged down with an infection. Besides just washing your hands often, you should also turn up the cold water during shower time. In doing so, you trigger your lymphatic system, the very same system that removes our cell waste. A healthier lymphatic system puts us at less risk of infection.
It might not sound very enjoyable, that’s true, but showering in cold water can help our health in a whole variety of ways. We enjoy better fertility, more appealing hair and skin, less stress, fewer depression symptoms, and faster muscle recovery after exercise.
While you might want to begin taking cold showers ASAP, it’s best not to jump right into it and expect to keep the cold knob on during your whole shower. Instead, you want to start by exposing yourself to cold water for a minute or two, then a few more minutes, then a few more minutes from there. Before you know it, the cold won’t feel like such a shock to your system anymore. Good luck!