Taking a shower can provide us with some much-needed reflection time, whether this be before the start of the day or at the end of it. Most of the time though, people in the UK are taking warm showers, as they are generally quite nice and pleasant and allow us to ease into the day. However, a growing number of people in the country are switching to having cold showers because they have a wide range of health benefits.
In this article, we discuss the health benefits of a cold-water shower that you can take advantage of. Cold showers may not be everyone’s cup of tea at first, but once you find out about some of these, you may begin to realise why they are becoming more popular.
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- Increases alertness
- Healthier hair
- Improves blood circulation
- Stimulates weight loss
- Speeds up muscle soreness and recovery
- Eases stress
- Relieves depression
- Improves emotional resilience
- Boost fertility
1. Increases alertness
For those who find it a little tricky to wake up in the morning, a cold-water shower is the remedy that you need. It has lasting effects to amp up your alertness for the day. History tells the tales of Spartans using cold water showers to enhance mental and physical strength to make them more alert in combat.
Dr. David Greuner, Cardiovascular surgeon of NYC Surgical Associates said “Cold showers are a great antidote for waking you up in the morning after a late night. Anything that surprises or shocks you will bring on the fight or flight response and raise your level of alertness”. This sounds a little distressing for first thing in the morning, but if you’re feeling a tad groggy then this could be just the thing you need to wake up and seize the day!
2. Healthier hair
To give your hair a boost, a cold shower will help lock in moisture after you shampoo and condition your hair. It helps to tighten cuticles in your scalp to make sure your hair is well rooted, which can lower the chances of hair loss. It’s a win-win.
3. Improves blood circulation
As we age, our blood circulation tends to decline, and there is greater importance to counteract the overall effect on the body. Healthy blood circulation helps to provide oxygen to the brain and other vital organs. Interestingly, alternating between hot and cold water while you shower can help improve overall blood circulation.
4. Stimulates weight loss
Scandinavian researchers found that cold temperatures increase the metabolic rate of fat, and if this practice is sustained it can help strip away 9 pounds of fat a year. The researchers would still recommend a healthy diet and consistent exercise to support this weight loss.
5. Speeds up muscle soreness and recovery
Cold water showers are widely known to speed up the process of muscle repair. Athletes often take cold showers or ice baths to relax their muscles after a hardcore workout or intense match. In this study, the researchers analysed 360 people across 17 trials who plugged themselves in cold water after rigorous exercise. They found that cold water baths were very effective in reducing muscle soreness.
6. Eases stress
Stress is one of the most common health concerns around the globe, and many of us are seeking the most effective ways to manage this. The “shock” effect to the skin from getting a cold shower can make people more tolerant of stress, particularly if this is repeated over time. This study shows that cold showers are a form of oxidative stress on the nervous system, and over time the participants felt more “calm”.
7. Relieves depression
Research shows that consistent blasts of ice-cold showers are great for improving levels of wellbeing. Dr Nikolai Shevchuk believes that we need to be exposed to more thermal stress on the body, as it releases hormones that are often found in anti-depressant medications.
8. Improves emotional resilience
As previously mentioned, taking consistent showers can help you tolerate stress, which, in turn, improves your emotional resilience. Regular and consistent cold showers can ensure that your body will get used to the sensations.
9. Boost fertility
Although there isn’t a wide range of research, some small studies have found that there is evidence that suggests that cold showers can increase male fertility to some degree. Hot baths have been shown to reduce the level of sperm count, and cold showers are a good counter activity to reverse the effects.
With better blood circulation, your skin will also appear healthier and clearer as it will help nourish the skin tissue cells. The more oxygen circulated around the body, the more radiant and polished the skin will feel and look. Many studies have also been conducted to show that stress can age the body, and cold showers are a good combat for this too.
Cold showers are a great example to add to your self-care routine. We’re automatically accustomed to hot showers, particularly in the winter season; but perhaps this could be a new routine of relaxing after a long day or before the day has begun.
Taking the plunge into having regular cold showers can be daunting, but as we’ve seen there are significant health benefits. You do not need to switch completely to cold showers, but potentially alternating between cold and hot can be a good way to ease into the process and reward yourself if you’re finding it slightly harder to become accustomed to!
Cold showers are a great example to add to your self-care routine. We’re automatically accustomed to hot showers, particularly in the winter season; but perhaps this could be a new of relaxing after a long day. At Mobility Plus, our wellbeing and health are a priority, take a look at our other health-related articles on our blog here. If you are interested in easy-access bathing solutions, see our walk-in bath and shower ranges.