Cold showers have long been used in sports to help facilitate muscle recovery after an intense workout or competition. However, the benefits of cold showers aren’t just for elite athletes!
We break down the advantages of adding a cold shower to your daily routine and add some tips to make the whole process more comfortable.
Cold shower strengthens physical health
Several studies have shown promising results about a variety of ways in which cold showers can improve your overall physical health like increased blood circulation and energy levels.
A study out of the Netherlands — home of famous cold shower advocate Wim Hof— found that participants who incorporated cold temperatures into their shower routine called in sick at work 29% less than those who did not.
One of the study’s researchers, Dr. Geert A. Buijze noted that cold showers did not make participants more immune to illness, but, rather, helped them cope better with cold symptoms.
“Participants who took the cold showers had less severe illness symptoms, they felt more energetic, so they were better able to push through the sickness and function anyway.”
Source: Cold Showers Lead to Fewer Sick Days, Harvard Business Review, 2018
Boost your mood with a cold shower
Showering in cold water requires a certain amount of motivation and willpower that can translate to an overall positive effect on your mental health. Research suggests that cold showers help activate the sympathetic nervous system, creating an antidepressant effect.
Furthermore, using contrast shower techniques increases overall blood flow, which can result in an energy or mood boost. (Adapted cold shower as a potential treatment for depression, Science Direct, 2008)
Beauty also benefits from cold shower
Get your hair and skin glowing by lowering the shower temperature. The cold water helps lock in moisture to prevent hair breakage and temporarily tighten skin pores, leaving your face less red and puffy.
Dermatologist Lance Brown notes that it is particularly important to avoid super hot showers if you suffer from dry skin.
"Hot water will strip away some of the natural, protective oils that your skin makes," he says, which can leave skin feeling dry and itchy.”
Source: Can a Cold Shower Really Benefit Your Hair, Skin, and Metabolism? Health.com, 2017
Tips for getting the most out of your cold shower routine
- Prepare yourself mentally. Cold showers can be tough to adjust to, so prepare your mind to embrace the cold.
- Adjust gradually. Since cold showers can be uncomfortable at first, take time to adjust your body to the temperature change. The more accustomed your body is to cold water, the longer you’ll be able to withstand cold showers.
- Do breathing exercises. Breathing sends a signal of calmness to the brain, which is fundamental in helping your body deal with cold temperatures.
- Make it routine. You’ll never adjust to cold showers if you only take them occasionally, so try to establish a daily routine instead.
- Try contrast showers. If a cold shower is too overwhelming, try contrast showering from warm to cold temperatures. You still get the benefits of a cold shower while retaining the long, relaxing feeling from a warm shower. Just make sure to end the contrast shower with cold water.
Adjust to cold temperatures with ease
Cold showers might take some getting used to but can add numerous benefits to your physical and mental health.
Adjusting to cold temperatures can be made easier through shower solutions like Orbital Shower. Not only does it recirculate most of the water used in your shower, but Orbital Shower’s precision temperature display can also help you hit your cold shower temperature goals and give you the boost you need.