Last Updated on March 14, 2021 by admin
You hear all the time that a colder shower is better than a hotter one. Sometimes, when you step into the shower, you resolve to avoid the hot water knob, but it’s just so hard! If you’re increasing the chilly water in baby steps, how much cold is necessary to begin benefitting your health?
A shower is considered cold once the temperature is below 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Some people go as low as 55 degrees for their shower, but this isn’t necessarily something you have to do, as it’s quite uncomfortable.
In this article, we will discuss in more detail the benefits of cold showers and whether you need to shower in cold water the whole time you’re in there. If you plan on shifting to cold showers in the future, you’re not going to want to miss this!
Why Even Take a Cold Shower?
There are people who do polar bear plunges for charity, but they’re often in the cold water for seconds, maybe minutes. Outside of that, you may wonder, why would anyone willingly put themselves in cold water, especially as part of a daily shower?
It may sound like a form of torture to you, but it’s actually anything but. Your body benefits in so many ways from the cold, many of which we’ve discussed on this blog before. Here’s a recap in case you missed those posts.
- Weight loss: This is something we’ve touched on extensively. As adults, our body has a small supply of brown adipose tissue, also known as brown fat. Brown fat provides warmth, and it torches calories to do so. To trigger our brown fat to work, we need to be cold, hence why a cooler shower may help with weight loss.
- May reduce illness: While you should still wash your hands often, it’s possible to avoid the flu and cold by taking cooler showers. It’s due to the way our body’s leukocytes (or white blood cells in our immune system) react when we douse our bodies in cold water. Also, data from Infectious Agents and Cancer and other studies have noted that we could possibly even ward off cancer by showering in cold water.
- Higher testosterone and sperm count: Men who want to up their production of testosterone and sperm ought to switch to a colder shower. The coolness of the water allows the scrotal temperature to drop, increasing sperm count.
- Better circulation: Our circulatory system receives a boost from the cold, which could improve the appearance of your skin if you shower in cold water regularly enough. Blood has to move faster in the colder water to prevent us from shivering and shaking too much, hence the change to our circulation.
- More Zzzs: There’s a lot of evidence supporting that by lowering your body temperature before bed that you might sleep better. Taking a cold shower could do exactly that.
- Helps your metabolism: Not only can the brown fat within our bodies help us lose weight, but it may assist with our metabolism as well. So says a study from 2014 as published in the North American Journal of Medical Sciences. Apparently, you only need to shower as little as two times and as many as three times a week in cold water to reap these benefits.
- More endorphins: Each time you turn on the cold water in a shower, your brain comes alive with electrical impulses. These affect your energy, your clarity, and your alertness, increasing all three. While this happens, your body releases endorphins, or the feel-good hormone. It’s believed cold showers could even potentially lessen depression.
- Faster muscle recovery: After a tough workout, your body’s muscles need a break. This time off will allow the recovery process to start. In cold water, your body’s blood vessels become tighter, which lessens inflammation. This may promote faster muscle healing and even reduce or eliminate muscle pain.
So How Cold Should Your Shower Be?
You try to stay away from scalding hot showers as a rule. You know they can raise your blood pressure, make your skin itchy, irritate certain skin conditions, and cause your skin to become dry. Still, the closest you get to cold is lukewarm.
If you want to enjoy the above health perks, how cold would you have to set your water temperature in your shower? As we said in the intro, 70 degrees is the warmest you want the water when you shower. Ideally, you should go a degree or several under for best results.
Now, 70 degrees might not seem all that bad. That’s downright comfortable weather outdoors, so wouldn’t a 70-degree shower be equally comfortable? Not necessarily, as there’s a difference between air temperature and water temperature. We can safely say that 70 degrees in the shower is going to feel a lot different than being outside on a day that’s 70 degrees.
As we said in the intro, you could even crank the cold so it’s lower than 70 degrees, but we wouldn’t recommend doing this right off the bat. That temperature will feel chilly enough on its own, so don’t make your first cold-water showering experiences more unbearable by going to 60, even 55 degrees.
Do You Need to Shower in Cold Water the Entire Time?
Okay, so you took the plunge (literally) and showered in cold water. Wow, it sure was freezing! You don’t think you’ve ever taken as short a shower in your life. You don’t want to give up on your health goals, but do you have to immerse yourself in exclusively cold water for the duration of your shower?
Luckily, you don’t. You can start off with a warm or lukewarm water temperature and then gradually work your way to colder temps. If you spend at least five minutes in cold water, then that should be long enough for your body to trigger brown fat, your immune system to be protected, and your hair and skin to look better.
Try to work your way up to eventually spending 10 minutes in the cold water at a clip. Then you can switch back to warm water if you prefer. In fact, bathing in warm shower, then cold, then warm again has a name: contrast showering. When switching temps back and forth like this, you may still burn calories and fat, reduce muscle pain, and alleviate depression because you’re still exposed to enough cold. How Many Calories Does a Cold Shower Burn?
Does It Ever Get Easier to Take a Cold Shower?
The first time you shower in cold water for more than a minute or two, you’re going to feel chilled to the bone and probably a little miserable. It’s an uncomfortable experience. How do people do it every day, then? Does it ever get easier?
In ways, yes it does. Your body is incredibly versatile, and it can adapt to its circumstances if necessary. Thus, after a while, the jolt of cold water that would make some people jump won’t really bother you as much.
You’ll still feel the chill though, so here are some tips for keeping your mind off the water temperature:
- Go head-first: This is like wading into a swimming pool versus diving in. When you put your head into the water first, you feel the full brunt of the cold, so the rest of your body might not mind so much.
- Set a timer: Start with spending only two minutes in the cold, then three, then five, and so on. A phone timer will ensure you’re not shivering any longer than you have to.
- Distract yourself: Play music, turn on a podcast, or give yourself something else to listen to so you’re not as focused on the cold.
- Keep it short: Simply put, the shorter your showers are, the less time you spend in the cold water. Plus, you’re helping the environment by reducing your shower length, so do it!
A cold shower is considered anything that’s under 70 degrees. If you can convince yourself to spend time in water that cold, you may lessen depression symptoms, bolster your immune system, increase fat burning, improve your metabolism, and even ward off sickness and disease.
Since you only have to spend about five minutes in the cold water to kickstart your body into doing the above, why not take a colder shower today? You’ll be glad you did!