Ice-cold showers sound like one of those fad health trends that are popular for a minute and then fade into oblivion once people remember how amazing a warm shower is.
So, why do people take cold showers and put themselves through what is surely a pretty painful experience? Is having a cold shower good for you? Surely the answer is ‘Errrr, no’, right?
Well, it seems the budgie-smuggler-wearing ice swimmers may be on to something. As it turns out, there are various health benefits linked to taking cold showers. That’s not to say that you should immediately look for a frozen pond to dive into (in fact, this is highly unadvisable), but the benefits of a cold shower mean you might want to turn the temperature dial down.
THE BENEFITS OF A COLD SHOWER
- Hot doesn’t always equal happy. Is there any better feeling than a long, hot shower on a chilly day? Probably not. But it turns out that turning down the heat may help your happiness. Ok, so you probably won’t be overly happy when you first get into a cold shower. Or even 30 seconds into a cold shower. But a rush of cold water has been proven to help improve your mood (yeah, we weren’t that convinced either but it’s science baby).
- Get that blood flow going. When the cold water hits your skin, your body tells itself to stay warm and triggers your metabolism to heat you up and get that blood pumping. The good news is that this helps you keep healthy and fit; the bad news is that you can’t use it as an excuse to skip leg day. Sorry lads.
- Feel focused and fresh. Hot showers help you relax and loosen up your muscles – but this can make you feel less focused. One of the benefits of a cold shower in the morning is that you can start your day focused, alert, and ready to go no matter what. For extra refreshment in the shower, choose a body wash with a fragrance designed to keep you feeling and smelling great.
- Soothe your skin. Ever come out of a hot shower with skin that feels a bit itchy? This is because hot water can strip away essential oils that keep your skin happy and hydrated. Turning the temperature down can help you keep this moisture, as well as tightening your pores – so you’ll be feeling and looking great when you leave the shower. Win-win.
- You sound pretty hardcore. Ok, so this one isn’t a sciency benefit but taking an ice-cold shower has got to make you closer to a Navy SEAL or something cool like that, right? Oh, there’s an intense training program too? Alright, never mind.
The benefits of a cold shower in the morning include feeling more alert, having an improved mood and getting an extra dose of energy.
WHEN TO TAKE A COLD SHOWER
So, is it good to have a cold shower? The answer seems to be ‘yes’. But is a cold shower good for you 100% of the time?
Generally speaking, cold showers are better first thing or after exercise, and hot showers are better in the evening. The benefits of a cold shower in the morning include feeling more alert, having an improved mood and getting an extra dose of energy, whereas a warm shower helps in the evening by relaxing your mind and your muscles before bed. We’re not saying a hot shower is going to stop you overthinking when you’re trying to fall asleep, but it might help!
So, while the thought of starting the day with a cold shower may send shivers down your spine (no pun intended), it may be time to consider taking the plunge.