I have enjoyed taking hot showers ever since I was a kid. Maybe it was the cold NY winters, but then again, even in the blazing hot summertime I would still prefer long hot showers. Something about the hot water made me relax and I could stay in the water until my fingers looked like prunes. Even after I moved to sunny Florida in 2009, hot showers were still part of my daily routine. Little did I know that there are actually some amazing benefits to taking cold showers.
Just to be clear, I believe that both hot and cold showers have their time and place, but maybe just be a little more conscious of certain factors. For example, did you know that showering with hot water for too long can dry your skin and hair? True story; it happened to me. For years I had dealt with excessive dry skin and redness, especially in the spots where the hot water hit me the most (my head, shoulders, and back). Also be aware that if you suffer from conditions such as rosacea, psoriasis, or eczema, long hot showers are something you definitely want to avoid because they will make your symptoms worse.
So after decades of hot showers I decided to change things up and give cold a try!
At first, just the thought of a cold shower made me shiver. I kept telling myself to just jump in and do it, but lifelong habits are hard to break. So I started out with dropping the water temperature just a bit and then completely killing the hot water towards the end of the shower. It was a bit shocking at first, but surprisingly it wasn’t as bad as I thought. After a few days of doing this half warm half cold shower, I was ready to go full blown cold and I haven’t looked back since.
Benefits of taking cold showers:
1. Mental health improvement
Cold showers activate our nervous system and enhance our neurological performance to help boost our alertness and focus. Studies have also shown that cold showers increase our production of beta-endorphins and noradrenaline which aide in reducing feelings of depression (and with no risk of side effects).
2. Immune system improvement
Studies have shown that cold showers help to increase our disease-fighting white blood cells.
3. Muscle recovery
I’m sure you have seen athletes soak in tubs of ice water after their games or major workouts. There’s a method to their madness. Cold water helps to speed up the recovery time of our sore muscles.
4. Healthier skin and hair
Cold showers help to hydrate our skin and hair. Unlike hot water that washes off our natural oils, cold water keeps our skin and hair oils healthy. Cold water also helps to increase the grip of our hair follicles to our scalp so that more of it remains on our head instead of down the drain.
5. Weight loss
Cold showers activate our brown fat (which our body uses to produce heat). The increase in brown fat results in our bodies burning more calories to try to keep warm.
6. Improved circulation
Cold showers improve our cardiovascular health by rushing blood to our organs to keep them warm. This increase in natural blood circulation helps to make our circulatory system more efficient.
I have now been taking full cold showers for almost a year and the benefits have been incredible. I definitely recommend them. Even if you just do the half warm/ half cold showers, you will be glad you did.