What Are The Benefits Of Taking A Cold Shower And When Should You Take One?

Let me show you the proven benefits of taking a cold shower and also how to make doing it easy, because scientists, doctors, elite athletes and biohackers agree, a cold shower delivers significant benefits for everybody, not just those pushing the limits of human performance.

What are the benefits of a cold shower? The benefits of taking a cold shower are improved blood circulation, greater and more effective fat loss, a stronger immune system, increased testosterone levels, faster muscle recovery, improvements hair and skin condition, better quality sleep and a reduction in stress.

Every morning before we start our hectic, stressful day or in the evening when we come back home after all that activity, a nice warm shower or bath seems like a great idea.

A hot or warm shower’s relaxing and refreshing. On the other hand, a cold shower looks seemingly uncomfortable and anything but relaxing.

But what if I told you that a cold shower is way better than a warm shower and has real biohacking health benefits?

And if you don’t want to choose between the warm and cold you don’t have to, you can have your warm shower first and then switch to cold at the end. More on this later along with how best to do this when you’re new to it.

How Your Body Reacts to a Cold Shower

First, you need to understand how our body reacts to the cold.

Ideally, our body wants to keep its temperature consistent with the temperature of the surrounding environment. But body heat mustn’t go above or beyond a certain point.

When the human body gets exposed to cold, it starts to lose temperature, and in order to save heat, the pores start to close into the skin. This way perspiration takes place and prevents too much heat loss. In addition, outer blood vessels get tightened under our skin.

Now the question is, how do all these benefit our body?

When your body makes such adjustments to itself, the impact is quite fascinating and really beneficial.

A Cold Shower gives you Better Blood Circulation

To generate more heat, the body needs to burn more oxygen, which in turn keeps our vital organs warm.

Automatically oxygen is carried to the organs via the arteries, pumped there by the heart. As a side effect, faster blood circulation is really great for cardiovascular health too.

Basically, by exposing yourself to the cold water in the shower you’re building a stronger heart.

The circulation improvement also helps drain what’s called your lymphatic system, which carries waste away from cells out of the body too.

It’s also been reported by some people that as you become used to cold showers you’ll see a drop in your heart rate throughout the day.

In fact, I know and train with somebody who commented how their resting heart rate fell by 5 to10 beats per minute after taking a cold shower every morning, which had major benefits when doing normal activities and when doing exercise.

A Cold Shower helps you Burn Fat

Pumping oxygen to organs is not the only way in which the body tries to keep itself warm during a cold shower.

Another way is to activate brown fat that can generate heat around the body.

Brown fat is known as the ‘good fat’ of the human body and burns a lot of calories in the process of keeping the body warm.

In cold temperature, brown fat gets a 15% boost compared to the normal amount, and burns more calories than usual.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t do exercise, you should, but people run miles and push themselves in the gym to burn extra calories, so if that’s you why not use the body’s natural ability too by having a cold shower?

A Cold Shower gives you A Better Immune System

If you want to be fit and healthy a strong and efficient immune system is vital, and a cold shower is a good way to help do this.

Cold and the immune system are often connected; in fact, it’s a major element of the Wim Hof system.

Some researchers in England conducted a study on a group of people from diverse backgrounds. They found out that people who prefer cold showers are less likely to fall victim to illness compared to the ones who take warm showers on a regular basis.

A similar study was done with 3,000 people in the Netherlands and these people had 29% fewer days of work than the control group and 54% less if they also exercised regularly.

These research findings were not unexpected though because of the body’s metabolic rate increases immediately during and after a cold shower, which makes the immune system much better as it causes the release of white blood cells.

White blood cells, which are also known as leukocytes, are the blood cells of the immune system and protect the body against infectious diseases and anything that enters the body that shouldn’t be there, including cancer.

A Cold Shower Improves Testosterone Levels

This is a benefit that’s more applicable to men and especially as testosterone levels drop over time, but well worth mentioning as it has relevance to women too, depending on what they’re looking to achieve.

Testosterone plays a key part in muscle mass, bone density, hair strength and growth, sex drive, mood, brain function, confidence, energy and cardiovascular health, so it has a significant impact on everybody, not just men.

In terms of male orientated benefits, increases in temperature affect the DNA, RNA and protein synthesis of the male testicles, which reduces testosterone levels. The opposite of this is that reducing temperature has the opposite effect.

More testosterone means a higher sperm count and increased fertility, that’s why hot showers are sometimes used as a natural male contraceptive.

If you are a man looking forward to improving your fertility, then a cold shower can be a great natural solution.

A Cold Shower Helps Muscles Recover Faster

You’ll often see or hear of people, especially professional athletes and sporting stars sitting in an ice bath, using cryotherapy (extremely cold, near freezing temperatures) and placing ice packs on muscles and joints, but a cold shower can have a similar effect too, without the cost, inconvenience or extreme temperatures.

Athletes don’t use cold temperatures do this for nothing, they do it because cold helps muscle recovery and repair and you can use the same method too, with a nice cold shower.

Our muscles strain due to lack of oxygen, inflammation and a surplus of lactic acid, a simple cold shower helps deals with all these factors, and it also provides temporary relief from pain too.

A Cold Shower Will Improve Skin and Hair

Taking cold showers is accepted as one of the best methods of taking care of your skin and hair.

Taking cold showers is widely accepted as one of the best methods of taking care of your skin and hair, yet many people don’t do it, despite spending time and money of products and treatments designed to do this.

Many dermatologists have recommended cold showers to people who are worried about their skin and hair, or who want to see significant improvements in them, even for those people with issues like eczema.

Our skin and hair suffer a lot when too much natural oil is lost. A cold shower prevents the loss of necessary natural oils and keeps our skin fresh and healthy, which is all part of slowing and reversing skin ageing.

When it comes to hair, if it drops out or is weakening, this can be helped and even prevented with cold showers as the cold water tightens the grip of hair on the scalp and keeps the follicles flat.

A Cold Shower helps you get Better Sleep

It is true that taking a cold shower might not feel like a way to sleep better, but it does.

In order to sleep well, you must have a slightly lower core body temperature, normally just 1 and 2 degrees, as this conserves energy.

As much as the body automatically tries to reduce its temperature, a cold shower in the evening will speed the process up and help you fall asleep and fall asleep faster too.

But there are rules to follow.

A cold shower activates what’s called your body’s sympathetic nervous system, which is what automatically causes you to trigger your body’s fight or flight survival instincts. Doing this too close to bedtime isn’t advisable, but that should stop you doing it.

A cold shower in the evening, about 60 to 90 minutes before you want to sleep will help you to sleep well. After this time the nervous system will have returned to normal and that 1 to 2-degree drop in body temperature has happened.

A good night’s sleep is the biggest boost for your day and has so many other health, fitness and mental advantages too.

A Cold Shower reduces stress on the body and mind

This is the area I find a cold shower most effective in, especially as our lives tend to keep us in a comfort zone most of the time, particularly in terms of temperature, as we move from one heated or air-conditioned environment to another.

Stress affects different people in various ways such as mood, emotional response, insomnia, headaches, anger, physical pain, depression, illness, mental focus, creativity and much more – if you’re not at peak performance levels then the stress of some kind is part of the problem.

The body faces physical and emotional stress every day, we can’t control everything in our lives, but a cold shower helps to naturally build up resilience to any of these stress factors, even if they’ve got nothing to do with temperature – as they say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and 30 seconds to two minutes in a cold shower will not kill you.

Unless you learn to deal with stress, even at a small level, it will have a greater impact than necessary because our lives are conditioned to seek comfort; this ultimately has negative as well as positive consequences.

Small steps outside of the comfort zone literally train you to be better adapted and ready for things that are unexpected.

Physical stress comes in many forms from toxins, muscle use and illness, but as mentioned already, a cold shower has a positive effect on things like inflammation, muscle recovery and the immune system, so the sooner this is sorted the better for your stress.

On a mental level, a cold shower improves blood flow as we know, and this benefits the brain but the cold exposure will help to build your willpower, mental resilience and discipline too, so much so that it can even have positive effects on people suffering from depression.

Related studies also show the use of cold showers can also help overcome addictions too, as increases certain hormones in the body help brain receptors that addiction can impact, especially when it comes to withdrawal symptoms.

A cold shower will help lower levels of uric acid, too much of this is bad for the body and can cause pain, swelling and discomfort in joints, which causes physical stress even if it doesn’t escalate to something serious like gout (which it can).

The cold shower you have will also increase Glutathione (GSH) levels, which help manage stress, as this is an antioxidant that supports cells and the removal of free radicals, and heavy metals in the body. The lower the toxin level in the body the better for all sorts of reasons and anything that shouldn’t be in the body causes stress until it’s removed.

I am sure that you’re thinking about changing your showering routine to incorporate at least a bit of cold water, but you probably wonder how to you can get rid of your fear of cold showers?

Getting Rid of Your Fear of Cold Showers

So the benefits look very convincing, right?

I am sure that you’re thinking about changing your showering routine to incorporate at least a bit of cold water, but you probably wonder how to you can get rid of your fear of cold showers?

You can get rid of your fear of cold showers following a very simple step-by-step process.

For starters, you can have a mixed-water shower for a few days. Have your warm shower or bath and then turn the temperature down for the last part – I’d recommend over a period of about 10 days you build up the cold time as follows:

Day 1 – 10 seconds

Day 2 – 20 seconds

Day 3 – 20 seconds

Day 4 – 30 seconds

Day 5 – 30 seconds

Day 6 – 45 seconds

Day 7 – 45 seconds

Day 8 – 1 minute

Day 9 – 1 minute 30 seconds

Day 10 – 2 minutes

The trick is to learn to relax and regulate your breathing in the cold water and once you’ve got used to it and can just relax in the cold water for 2 minutes or more.

You may even feel you just want to skip the warm shower part and use cold water all the time.

Breathe in a calm controlled way through your nose.

Don’t gasp for air and this way you’ll relax and find that your body will even manage its temperature better, just as you do when you learn about breathing and extreme cold in things like the Wim Hof method or through meditation, and if you want to start learning about meditation we’ve written about it here.

Another way to get started with cold showers is the “levelling-up method”.

Start with water that’s neither warm nor cold and then gradually decrease the temperature, as you get more comfortable with it, this way your body will get used to the cold, and be prepared to take on even colder showers.

You can ‘level up’ the cold water every few days until you reach the desired point and you can also combine the 10-day progression and levelling up if that helps too, again learning to regulate your breathing.

Conclusion

Just 30 seconds under a cold shower is enough to have a substantial positive effect on you and more than that is even better.

With the many benefits a cold shower provides in the morning or before, it’s one of the first biohacks you should try as part of your daily routine as it has an immediate impact and is relatively easy and free to do, in fact, it saves you money as you don’t need to heat up the water.

So now all that’s left to do is benefit by taking cold showers, if you want to improve your mental, physical and emotional wellbeing.

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