Last Updated on March 14, 2021 by admin
We all have to shower, but does the direction you turn those temperature knobs matter? Indeed, a cold shower can increase our respiratory rate, blood pressure, and heart rate, thus making us more alert. There are more benefits yet, which may make you want to start showering in colder water. How do you do this and not become a popsicle in the process?
To take a cold shower without freezing, you might try the following:
- Switch temperatures with a contrast shower (some hot water mixed with your cold)
- Start with cooler showers, working your way up to colder ones
- Employ a few mental tricks as you shower, such as picturing a warmer place, watching your breathing, or even listening to a music playlist
- Keep your showers short so you’re out of the cold faster
In this article, we’ll elaborate more on the above methods for successful cold showers without exiting the bathroom icy cold. We’ll also explain why you’d want to take a cold shower in the first place, so keep reading!
The Benefits of Cold Showers
Unless you’re hot from the weather or physical activity, why subject yourself to a freezing cold shower? You’ll find plenty of reasons out there, all of which are advantageous to your health. Let’s discuss these more now.
Potential Pain Treatment
Feeling sore from an injury or medical condition? In 2014, researchers found that the cold water of a freezing shower lessens pain-causing edema. Your swelling also goes down as your blood vessels shrink, says the study from the North American Journal of Medical Sciences.
Water Therapy Aides Athletic Recovery
If you need to recover faster from a tough workout or a big marathon, there’s evidence (over two dozen studies) that a combination of contrast water therapy and immersing oneself into freezing water can both lessen fatigue and boost recovery rates.
When taking a cold shower that’s at least five minutes long, you can burn more than 75 calories. The average amount of calories torched during a 15-minute shower in warm water is a lot less than that, making the cold shower more effective for weight loss. While cold showers likely won’t lead to extreme weight loss on their own, they’re a nice supplement to a good diet and plenty of exercise. How Many Calories Does a Cold Shower Burn?
When we take colder showers, our sympathetic nervous system comes alive. Thus, we create more endorphins and norepinephrine, neurotransmitters that influence our mood for the better. This could even alleviate some depression symptoms, found a 2008 study in Medical Hypotheses.
May Help Our Immune System
In 2016, PLoS One did research on a group of more than 3,000 participants to see how shower temperature influenced their immune systems. Those participants got divided into two groups. The first group stuck to warm or hot showers only. The second, per shower, would run the cold water for at least 30 seconds, sometimes up to 90 seconds.
The ones who used even a bit of cold water didn’t take as many sick days from school or work. Thus, there may be a connection between our immune system health and the temperature in which we shower.
Keeps Us Tuned in
If you can’t get through your morning without a cup (or three) of coffee, you might want to try a cold shower instead. It can jolt you to life without all that caffeine. Cold showers will increase our respiratory rate, blood pressure, and heart rate, thus getting us energetic and ready for the day ahead.
How to Take a Cold Shower Without Freezing
Knowing all those benefits, you might want start incorporating cold showers into your life sooner than later. How do you go about doing this without becoming a shivering mess each day? Try a few of these tricks for success.
Take a Contrast Shower
Remember that study we linked you to in PLoS One? Some of those participants only ran the cold water in the shower for a minute or so at a time. This is known as a contrast shower. You might start with a warm shower, using cold water for 30 seconds every minute or two. Then, you’ll work your way up to leaving the cold water on for 60 seconds.
That’s the ratio you want to achieve for the above health benefits. For every minute you have the cold water on, you may run the hot water for 20 seconds. Knowing you don’t have to take an exclusively cold shower each day makes it much easier to start.
Don’t Rush Right In
Speaking of the temperature, how cold is cold? There’s a loose definition of what constitutes a cold shower. If it’s less than 70 degrees Fahrenheit, then technically, it counts. Therefore, before you crank that cold shower knob all the way, stop. Do it incrementally instead.
First, take a lukewarm shower, then a cool one. Work your way up to colder and colder temps as your body adjusts.
Use Mental Tactics
Your skin has broken out in gooseflesh, your teeth are chattering, and you’re pretty sure your digits have turned blue. The more you think about how cold you are, well, the colder you’ll feel. That’s why it helps to distract yourself. You might envision a balmy, tropical island or pay more attention to your breathing. You could even play your favorite tunes in a playlist to get you through your shower.
Although many people will endure cold showers, that’s exactly what they’re doing, enduring them. You probably won’t like taking a shower at low temperatures, and that’s okay. Most don’t. However, for your health, you might persevere anyway, keeping up the habit day in and day out.
Like with anything you don’t like doing but have to anyway, make it as short as possible. Cut down on the time you spend standing around in the shower daydreaming. Get in, wash your body, wash your hair, rinse off, and then get out. You’ll still reap the above health benefits and enjoy some extra perks as well. For instance, you can lower your water bill and help the environment by curtailing the length of your showers.
Cold showers can give us an energy boost, help with pain, improve athletic recovery, and increase our mood to boot. However, they’re admittedly not very comfortable. Luckily, we can adjust with contrast showers and more.
If you’re thinking of taking cold showers in the morning or at night, the tips and advice in this article should provide a useful starting point. Good luck!