For most of us, cold showers feel like an icy hell.
At the end of the day, you don’t think about jumping into a cold shower unless you have been working in the fields and building a sweat for the last several hours.
But cold showers are actually good for you in over a dozen ways.
With the ability to change everything from your mindset to even your health, here are 15 scientific reasons why you may want to opt for a cold shower the next time you step in for a wash.
1) They Increase Immunity
In one study, researchers found that people who regularly subject themselves to cold showers have more white blood cells than their hot shower peers.
White blood cells are responsible for fighting diseases, and they believe that this is because cold showers activate your immune system by speeding up your metabolism, thus creating more white blood cells.
In another study, Geert A. Buize and his colleagues asked 3,000 volunteers in the Netherlands to have a morning shower with a 30-, 60-, or 90-second blast of cold water, while they asked other volunteers to shower as they usually did for 30 consecutive days.
The researchers found that on average, the groups that doused themselves with cold water were absent 29% fewer days than people in the control group.
The conclusion: Cold showers lead to fewer sick days.
2) Faster Blood Circulation
Looking to get your blood pumping? Nothing is better than a cold shower if you want to send that blood rushing all over your body.
According to Health Line, when cold water hits your body and external limbs, blood circulates at faster rates to maintain body temperature.
Experts also say that frequent cold showers prevent cardiovascular disease as cold temperatures trigger the circulatory system to reduce inflammation.
Stimulating your entire circulatory system isn’t a bad way to start your day.
3) Raises Fertility
For both men and women, cold showers can actually make it likelier for you to have kids.
One study found that men who are forced to stop taking hot showers experience a boost of nearly 500% in their sperm count just six months later.
This is because your testes need cool environments, not warm hot baths.
4) Higher Testosterone
Testosterone is important for so many men, boosting everything from your muscle growth to your confidence.
Instead of getting a shot of testosterone, just have a nice cold shower: researchers have found that the heat from warm showers can change our DNA, manipulating it into producing less testosterone.
5) Lose Weight
Cold showers are great if you want to lose weight. This is because cold showers force your body to activate the brown fat inside of you, which is used to insulate your body and keep your heat inside.
When the body feels cold, the brown fat goes into overdrive, burning 15 times faster than it would otherwise.
Moreover, cold temperatures activate the brown — or good — fat in the body.
What effect does that have?
According to Dr. Geert A. Buize who ran a study on the effects of cold showers, cold showers can increase your metabolism and help you control your blood sugar:
“Brown fat doesn’t have any proven connection to immunity, but it does affect the body’s thermoregulation. When activated, it keeps the body warm by burning calories. It may also increase your energy and metabolism and help control your blood sugar. That could reduce your risk of obesity and diabetes.”
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6) Better Hair and Skin
If you love beauty (and who doesn’t), then cold showers are for you: not only do they make your skin clearer, they also help out your hair.
Wellness guru, Dr. Jacqueline Schaffer, MD, has said that cold water tightens blood flow which gives your skin a healthier look.
The freezing water cleans you while keeping the natural oils in your hair and skin, which warm water usually washes off.
Adam Friedman, MD, says that cold showers can also help you overcome the sensation to scratch your skin if you have itchy skin.
7) Makes You More Alert
Getting up in the morning and starting your day can be the hardest part of the day, especially if you’re not a morning person.
A cold shower can do wonders for you, if that’s the case: the sudden rush of cold water speeds up your heart and forces your body to take in more oxygen, waking up your brain at a faster rate.
8) They Relax You
Even if it’s just a quick cold shower, cold showers have the ability to relax your stressful moments.
They boost the Glutathione present in your blood and reduce your uric acid: these two things combined makes you a more relaxed person.
9) They Make You Less Emotional
This is because they activate the oxygen in your body—to relax in a cold shower means your body can relax in any environment, making you more in touch with your rational self.
10) Increase Will Power and Ability to Deal With Stress
What better way to build your willpower than by forcing yourself into doing something you don’t want to do every single morning for the rest of your life?
Cold showers are a great way to exercise your discipline and willpower, and like every muscle in your body, the more you exercise it, the stronger it becomes.
According to this study, cold showers act as a form of oxidative stress, which over time results in antioxidative adaptation. This means that over time you’ll become better at dealing with stress.
(To learn how to let go of fear, check out our guide on how to be brave here)
11) Learn How To Breathe Better
One thing that many of us neglect is the quality of our breathing.
Cold showers force you to take in deep breaths, and the energy you get by breathing properly—deeply and thoroughly—is enough to help you get through the rest of the day, even without your morning coffee.
According to Human Window, cold showers raise your heart rate pretty quickly and cause you to take deeper breaths, and this helps raise your energy levels.
12) Your Alarm Clock
Nothing is more effective at pushing away the sleep and getting you into that killer instinct than a cold shower.
The cold shower immediately knocks out your sleepiness and gets your body into overdrive.
13) Great Way To Sleep
While cold showers can wake you up in the morning, they are also great at helping you get to sleep at night.
Cold showers are also known as cold therapy and are one of the most effective ways of knocking yourself out when it’s past your bedtime.
14) They Kill Depression
Researchers have proven that cold showers can stimulate your “blue spot”, or the area in your brain that produces noradrenaline, the key chemical in resisting depression.
There is also the electroshock that the sudden cold shower does to your brain, sending impulses all over your brain that can help you beat depression.
Another study found that cold showers increase beta-endorphin levels in the blood. They send significant electrical impulses from peripheral nerve endings to the brain, which may have an anti-depressant effect.
15) Increase Muscle Recovery
If you’ve been working out at the gym, the most important thing you need is muscle recovery: the faster your muscles recover, the faster you can increase your weights and reps.
Cold showers are key towards speeding up your muscle recovery, which is why Olympians almost always take ice baths.
Hot vs. Cold Shower – Which One is Better?
So which one is better? Warm showers feel great, but cold showers offer a lot more perks.
Here’s the rundown on the shower stall so you can make an informed decision, and maybe even incorporate both into your daily routines.
Hot Showers are Awesome
There’s no denying that getting into a hot shower first thing in the morning is a great feeling.
It makes you feel warm and cozy and preps your mind for the day as you ease into your routine.
Warm showers boost circulation by warming blood vessels and expanding them. This allows the blood to flow freely throughout your body.
If you suffer from chronic pain, such as Arthritis, you’ll find that the hot showers not only make your pain subside, but you’ll gain a great deal of flexibility, even if it is short lived.
Hot showers provide a chance for your skin to breathe. The warm water opens your pores and allows toxins to escape your body.
There’s no evidence to suggest that hot showers get you any cleaner than a cold shower because you aren’t showering in water at a temperature that is killing bacteria or removing harmful elements from your body, but it certainly feels like you are cleaner when you take a hot shower in the morning.
Hot showers also help to open up the respiratory system and provide relief when we have congestion or are suffering from cold or flu-like symptoms.
Stuffy noses and coughs are often alleviated for periods following warm or hot showers. And there’s no question about it: hot showers are awesome.
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However, Cold Showers Offer More Benefits
While you might cringe at the thought of climbing into a cold shower first thing in the morning, consider this: you’ll be awake in no time!
While hot showers are great for opening things up and letting the juices flow, cold showers help your body to constrict and provide an opposite reaction.
While hot showers can allow your blood vessels to expand, cold showers constrict the blood vessels which can help reduce swelling.
If you suffer from problems with swelling, cold showers can help alleviate some of that swelling.
What’s more, cold showers can help the detoxication process that was started with your hot shower.
Cold showers require your body to circulate your blood faster, which can help with circulation.
Our bodies also burn fat at faster rates when we are cold, so if you are taking a hot shower after your workout, consider taking a cold one shortly after that, or even first.
Because our bodies are working hard to circulate blood at these times, cold showers speed that process along and also burns “brown fat” which are reduced when exposed to cold temperatures.
How to Incorporate Cold and Hot Showers into Your Routine
There are several ways to incorporate both cold showers and hot showers into your daily routine.
If you suffer from a chronic condition, for example, you might want to start and end your shower with hot water, but be sure to include a stint of cold water in there to promote circulation and reduce inflammation.
If you just completed an intense workout, warm water might feel better, but cold water will help keep your blood flowing and ensure that your muscles don’t become stiff.
If you shower in the morning, take a cold shower to prime your body for the day. Take a warm shower at night to prepare your body for rest.
Some people start their “bedtime” routine as early as 3 pm in the afternoon, avoiding caffeine, sugar, and diming the lights into the evening, so their bodies know it’s time to relax.
A warm shower is a nice way to finish the day, and it’s soothing to the mind, as well as the body.
You might not like the idea of taking a cold shower – ever – but when you consider the benefits of doing it, it’s not a bad idea to at least give it a try.
If you live in a cold climate, think about how alive your body feels when you come in from the cold air.
We are used to trying to make ourselves warm, but when our bodies are exposed to colder temperatures, our body has a chance to act differently, which provides numerous benefits and we feel great afterward.
Try incorporating cold showers into your routine a few days a week and see if it changes your perspective on what getting ready for the day looks like.
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