When it comes to self-care, every aspect of your daily routine should be analyzed and optimized. There are a countless different tiny tweaks and changes that you could make to dramatically improve your well-being. One change might just be how you shower.
Cold showers often get a bad reputation, and you might ask what are the benefits of cold showers, if any. Well there actually quite a few, and cold showers turns out to be one of those things that may be uncomfortable in the short run but proves to provide amazing benefits in the long run.
Get an Alertness Boost
The first thing you might think about with cold showers is the shock you get when you first turn the shower and get an unexpected blast of cold water electrifying your body. When this isn’t intended you are probably feeling more annoyed than anything, but you can use bursts of cold water at the end of your shower to give yourself an alertness boost.
The way your body increases alertness comes from the deep breathing and increased heart rate immediately after that first shock from the cold water. As your heart rate rises so does your blood flow and oxygen intake giving you a boost of energy. This can be very useful routine for early risers to get them ready and focused for the day.
Increased Muscle Soreness Recovery
For those of you out there that conduct resistance training or any other intense workout regimen, you might be missing out of the amazing effects a cold shower could have on muscle soreness. A cold shower isn’t a cure all for muscle soreness but due to its ability to reduce inflammation it can drastically speed up your recovery time.
When looking for a good gym to join always look for one that has good shower facilities. After every workout, you can hop in and take a fast cold shower to increase your recovery time and keep you on track. One caveat though, a typical cold shower only requires the water temperature to be below 70 degrees, but you will have to go a bit colder for it be effective against muscle soreness, between 50 to 59 degrees.
Lift Up Your Spirit
Cold showers can have the ability to act akin to electroshock therapy when it comes to feelings of depression. The jolt your mind and body receives actually stimulates the production of endorphins which elevates feeling of happiness and well-being. Studies have shown that not only depression but stress as well can be altered by use of “hydrotherapy” which cold showers are a part of.
Sometimes we get depressed after getting stuck in the same routine day in and day out. It only makes sense that some sort of surprise or jolt could snap us out of it, even if temporary. It is almost like getting a coffee or energy drink in the morning to perk you up but without the potential drawbacks caffeine can have on your body.
Build a Stronger You
Life is all about endurance, pushing yourself to the limits and adapting as you go along, so you will be prepared no matter what hardships step in your way. Taking regular cold showers will build a stronger you by improving your immune system, increasing metabolism, and strengthening your will power.
Leukocytes are white blood cells that counteract foreign substances and diseases in our body. The shock of cold water stimulates leukocytes which boost our immune system and proves effective against common illnesses, like the cold and flu. It is especially beneficial to people who want to prepare their body for surgery or disease treatment that could weaken their immune system.
The science on how exactly cold showers improve metabolism isn’t clear, but there is a tenuous link between the two. It won’t be a magical cure for shedding the pounds, but it may be that one little adjustment you needed to put you over the top.
It takes the right mind set and preparation when you deliberately turn the cold water on in the shower. The first time will probably be the hardest, but it will still be hard long after that. This is an excellent exercise in will power and by repeatedly wrestling and overcoming the fear and instinctual repulsion to take a cold shower, you will become a stronger person in all other areas of your life.
Embrace the Cold
I will never forget the day I realized the power and purity of cold water in what I can almost describe as a religious experience. I was traveling thru Japan in the winter and came across this temple in the mountains. There wasn’t a soul around, and it seemed almost eerie.
When entering a temple or shrine in Japan, it is customary to wash your hands as a way of purification. Usually there will be a dipper well that you can draw from. The water was so cold that my hands burned on contact, but it somehow felt good.
With my numb hands, I silently proceeded through the temple drawing closer to the sound of a waterfall. When I finally found the source of the sound, I witnessed something I will never forget. Right in the middle of the frigid falling water stood a solitary figure in a white rob. The man’s eyes were closed, and there was this look of almost perfect contentment on his face. I wanted to go under the waterfall myself, but I made excuses such as I don’t have any extra clothes or I might get sick, but I didn’t. That sight though fully cemented in my mind the purifying power of water, and I think about it every time I turn the cold water on in the shower.
It may take a little mental training and resolve, but the next time you get in the shower, turn on the cold water and see what happens. Embrace the cold and reap the benefits.