When most people hear the words “cold water”, the last thing they want to do is to immerse their body in it. Although a cold-water rinse will wake you up, a shot of cold water actually has a number of health benefits.
Alternating between hot and cold water can strengthen your vasculature (veins and arteries) and therefore improve the integrity of your cardiovascular system. Additionally, it can help filter out toxins in the body because it stimulates constriction and subsequent relaxation of the blood vessels. This can help to optimize blood flow to the tissues, which may even help to regulate blood pressure. Healthy blood circulation also improves recovery time from strenuous exercises.
Another crucial part of the body that is affected by cold showers is the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system helps carry out waste from cells. This boosts the body’s defense against infections.
Research at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine has found that short, cold showers may stimulate the brain’s “blue spot.” This is the brain’s primary source of norepinephrine, which is thought to help mitigate depression.
A recent study found that cold showers might act as a method of slight oxidative stress, which the body adapts to over time. Essentially, this mechanism helps the body to increase tolerance and adapt to stress.
Cold water can make your skin look healthier by closing your pores. One of the best ways to improve your skin (and hair) is by taking cold showers. Plus it’s free! According to some dermatologists, cold water can help our skin by preventing it from losing too many natural oils. Your hair gets the same benefit.
Athletes often take ice baths after intense training to recover faster. But you don’t need a high-tech training facility to be able to achieve these benefits. Just take a cold shower. It can help remove lactic acid, which builds up with exercise.
According to a study done by the Thrombosis Research Institute in England, individuals who took daily cold showers saw an increase in the number of virus-fighting white blood cells compared to individuals who took hot showers.
Every time I end a shower with cold water, I feel invigorated. The cold rinse stimulates a rush of blood through your body that helps shake off the lethargy of the previous night’s sleep.
Individuals with certain cardiovascular conditions should use caution if they plan to take cold showers because it may cause too much of a shock to the body. These individuals should speak with a medical professional prior to participating in cold showers.
Getting Started with Cold Water Showers
Begin by gradually decreasing the temperature of the water so your body can adjust.
- Start with hot water or your normal shower temperature.
- When you’re ready to rinse, just turn the tap to cold. Aim to spend about 10 seconds at first and work up to 30 seconds before stepping out of the shower.
You’ll start seeing the benefits after the first shower, and it only gets better as you continue!