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"It could have a huge impact on your life".
Are Cold Showers worth it?
As crazy as it may sound, having cold showers can actually be very good for you physically and mentally. Although it could be, it isn’t just about saving money on your utility bill. The thought of it may give you shivers but having regular cold showers may be a small change that could have a huge impact on your life.
Exposing ourselves to icy/cold temperatures is something that most people have moved away from over the years. Still, when you think about human history, our ancestors were exposed to the cold in many ways. Although for them, most of the time it was out with their control, however, it made them strong and able to live in harsher conditions. Maybe we should look into how our ancestors dealt with the cold and take a leaf from their book.
Today it is probably too easy to stay comfy, stay at home, have hot baths and not even push us physically or mentally. However, more and more people are now using cold water to help us become more resilient which in turn can help us deal with other situations in life which are hard to deal with. If we can go through hard situations in a controlled environment so we can learn, then maybe we are onto something?
Extreme cold exposure is a form of stress that causes our bodies to get into the “fight or flight” mode briefly where we can then adapt in being able to handle this stress or even more in the future.
Someone who has taken this on board is a health influencer nicknamed “Iceman”, Wim Hoff who advocates cold water exposure for mental and physical health. He inspires thousands of us to get uncomfortable in the cold water and for a good reason.
Let’s find out if cold showers are beneficial or whether this is just a craze.
We are going to look at 3 pros and cons of taking cold showers.
1. Wanting to feel more awake and alert in the morning?
Most people nowadays revert to drinking coffee to help them wake up and get ready for the day ahead. But what if you could do it simply by being in cold water?
Although a cold morning shower may sound like a nightmare, they are actually a perfect way for people to get a natural energy boost.
The cold water helps increase the heart rate, the oxygen intake and gives the body a strong rush of energy which is much needed for most people in the morning.
If you know someone who already does cold water exposure, you may find they are more perky/ full of energy for longer.
So if you are looking for some more energy maybe try having some cold showers and see what happens?
If you feel that this works for you then try to keep the cold-water exposure in the mornings or during the day. If you have them at night you may struggle to get to sleep.
2. Improves your overall physical health.
There are studies showing that cold showers activate your immune system which helps boost the body’s ability to fight viruses.
As soon as your body is in contact with the cold water, your body is triggered into a reaction where the heart starts to pump more blood through the body which circulates all overall (in particular the vital organs, which is why many get sore hands and feet as the blood tends to rush away from extremities to the vital organs).
With the blood circulating around the body more freely, it is said that over time it can help with lowering blood pressure, clearing clogged arteries and overall promoting a better immune system.
Cold water can also give you healthier hair and skin. Hot water is known to dry out and strip out natural oils from the skin and hair. The cold helps to tighten the body’s pores and cuticles by temporarily constricting blood flow which then flattens the hair follicles allowing them to grip the scalp better keeping your hair and skin healthier for longer.
Many athletes swear by cold showers or ice baths to help with muscle soreness/ recovery. Many love to jump into cold water post workout to not only cool off but to help soothe any muscle soreness.
The cold water promotes more freeing moving blood flow meaning there is more blood able to be delivered to any area. The cooler temperature promotes faster blood flow, allowing more blood to be delivered to areas that are sore.
3. Mental Health.
There are also studies that show how cold showers can relieve depression and improve your mood due to the intense impact of the cold on the skin's receptors.
This produces an overwhelming number of electrical impulses to the brain which in turn creates an antidepressant effect.
Being in the cold water at the beginning is usually pretty tough, but if you focus on your breath, you will find that you have more control than you think. You begin to focus on your breathing and how your skins feels.
People tend to find that having cold water showers gives them the space and time to focus on themselves. Although it is difficult to get in and during, the feeling you get afterwards is often very euphoric and leaves you feeling warm, tingly, very alert and awake.
Pushing through the pain at the beginning also allows you to realise that you can get through other tough situations that may come in life. The extreme cold causes the body to get into the “fight or flight” mode briefly where we can then adapt in being able to handle this stress or other hard situations throughout life.
Regardless of what studies say, cold water immersions will benefit people in different ways for different reasons. They often say that many of these can feel like a placebo. But at the end of the day placebos work. So, if in doubt, give it a go and see how you feel.
1. They may not be effective for everyone and everything.
We are not all the same, therefore the way in which we react to cold water will be different. Some may thrive and others may struggle.
It is important to take the time to try it properly if you do. Many who suffer from muscle pain may find that warm exposure is better.
If you are suffering from an injury or muscles soreness it may be that a warm bath or hot water bottle is more beneficial to begin with to help rejuvenate the body. Some may even find that going from hot to cold and repeating it is better for muscle soreness.
2. They aren’t ideal for everyone who has illnesses.
If you are sick or unwell, then the cold water may do more harm than good. Warm baths and hot drinks etc are recommended more to help the body rejuvenate.
If the body is fighting with illness already then putting it under more stress with the cold showers may be too much.
If you are already physically cold then a cold shower may put a lot of stress on an already compromised immune system. If you are ever in doubt then contact a medical specialist on whether you would be better to use cold or warm water.
3. They make it harder to sleep.
You may think that it doesn’t matter when you have a cold shower. However, what most people tend to find is that the cold shower gives you a boost of energy and you feel very awake.
Therefore, try to stick to doing your cold showers in the morning or during the day. If you expose yourself to cold water in the evening/after dark then you may find it hard to relax, unwind and then fall asleep which will affect your overall health.
Some people do find that being in the cold makes them tired as it takes a lot out of them, and they sleep better but this is rare for most people. So, if you want to sleep well then get into your cold water in the mornings if you can so you can relax in the evenings.
How to get started:
When it comes to change in general, it is usually more beneficial to start slowly and build it up over time. The same applies to cold showers.
Next time you are in the shower try having your normal shower and then for the last 30-60 try turning it down for a little blast of cold water.
Then over time do it for a little longer until you find yourself showering for the full time in cold water. Remember that this is for your mental and physical health and that you don't have to do it every day. It is your choice and you have control.
If it isn't for you then that is also fine. Try it for yourself and see what happens.
"Seashell Robes have the best robes on the market and they’re growing in popularity."
"Not only do Seashell make waterproof changing robes, but they also have their own community. Seashell practice what they preach and put their products to good use in wild swimming and fitness community events up in Scotland."
Thank you very much for reading our blog post. We hope it has inspired you to go and explore into the wild.
Our aim is to share other people's stories. Whether you have a story about mental health, community or why you started wild swimming for example.
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