While most people wouldn’t think of taking a cold shower when they get out of bed in the morning, you can reap a lot of health benefits by turning the knob right instead of left. Cold showers help boost your overall mental and physical health by strengthening your willpower and nervous system response.
When you take cold showers regularly, you’ll notice dramatic changes in your body’s immune, lymphatic, circulatory, and digestive systems. It might sound like a crazy idea to take an icy cold shower, but you might want to try it after you hear about the incredible benefits it provides for the mind and body.
Cold showers help the body handle stress better as you expose it to extreme conditions, plus they boost willpower. Cold water helps improve hair and skin by reducing the size of pores and stimulating hair follicles. Taking a shower in cold water also helps wake you up in the morning, so much so that you might not even need coffee anymore!
Here are eight health benefits of taking a cold shower:
1. Boosts circulation in the lymphatic system
The lymphatic system consists of vessels that run throughout the body that help eliminate waste, bacteria, and microbes from the cells. As the lymphatic system helps the body clean itself, an overload of toxins can disrupt this delicate system. Many people don’t get enough exercise in today’s world, but the lymph fluid requires movement to cleanse toxins. Living a mostly sedentary lifestyle allows the buildup of toxins as the fluid stays in the body, which can lead to several diseases.
While blood gets pumped through the body continuously by the heart, the lymph system doesn’t have a pump, so it requires bodily movement to function properly. So, how do cold showers help the lymphatic system? Cold water helps contract the lymph vessels, which makes the lymphatic system pump lymph fluids throughout the body. In turn, waste gets eliminated. Cold showers also boost the immune system because white blood cells help destroy any toxins in the lymph fluid.
2. Improves cardiovascular circulation
Did you know cold showers can help improve circulation? While most people attribute exercise and diet to better circulation, immersing yourself in cold water can have the same effect. Poor cardiovascular circulation causes blood to slow and thicken, which can put a strain on the heart. If not corrected, this can easily lead to a heart attack or stroke. However, by speeding up circulation, blood can flow better throughout the body and help speed up metabolism.
By immersing yourself in cold water, the blood immediately rushes to vital organs in order to protect them from the extreme temperature change. Then, your heart must pump blood through your vessels and to the vital organs to give them nutrients and oxygen. If you take cold showers regularly, you’ll see a noticeable difference in your circulation.
When you expose your skin to cold water, the blood vessels on the surface of the skin start to constrict. This explains why blood flows to the vital organs. One study found that taking a cold shower following a workout may improve hydration by cooling down the body.
So, not only will your circulation improve, but cold showers can help with hydrating the body as well.
3. Lowers muscle inflammation
Everyone knows that sore, painful feeling in the muscles after an intense workout. Some people swear by heating pads or hot oil massages, but cold showers can also help to lower inflammation. Any time you exercise, especially as a beginner, the muscles have to tear a little bit each time as you put resistance on them to make them stronger. This process explains the intense pain people feel after a strenuous workout.
However, cold showers help to constrict blood vessels, which lowers swelling and inflammation. Many professional athletes take a bath in ice water after a workout for this very reason – it helps reduce the temperature in the body and ease the pain. However, anyone can benefit from cold showers after workouts or doing household chores. If you have chronic inflammation, try out a cold shower as a natural remedy. You might not even need anti-inflammatory pills or anything else!
4. Cold showers make you happier (seriously…read on)
While taking cold showers may not permanently cure depression, it can certainly help with the symptoms temporarily. A 2007 research study found that cold showers, alongside traditional remedies such as pharmaceutical pills and therapy, can help lift moods and ease other symptoms of depression.
Cold showers help with depression because the cold water triggers mood-enhancing neurotransmitters, which can boost happiness levels. Another case study showed that after four months of swimming in cold water in the winter, the subjects felt more vibrant and active than the control group.
Other beneficial lifestyle changes to help with depression:
- Changing your diet. Eating a whole-food, plant-based diet can help balance brain chemicals that cause depression symptoms.
- Getting enough sleep. Sleep deprivation can easily cause irritable moods and depressive symptoms. Make sure to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night.
- Drinking enough water. Many people have chronic dehydration, which means the brain lacks adequate oxygen, which can lead to low moods. Try to drink at least a gallon of water per day.
- Even if you only have 15 or 30 minutes a day to spare, try to walk around the neighborhood or go for a quick run. Exercise helps to release endorphins that boost your mood.
- Practice deep breathing, yoga, or meditation. Many people breathe too shallowly and quickly, which heightens anxiety and stress. Make sure to dedicate a portion of your mornings to self-care with deep breathing or some other relaxation technique. This will help keep you calm, centered, and blissful throughout your day!
5. Helps with weight loss
Since cold water helps to stimulate blood flow, it can boost your metabolism which will inevitably aid in weight loss. When you’re cold, your body must work much harder to warm itself. Plus, cold showers help to stimulate a specific type of fat in the body that speeds up weight loss.
Researchers revealed that taking a cold shower stimulates brown fat, which gets activated in freezing temperatures. Brown fat helps eliminate dangerous white fat, which accumulates around organs and the waist. Cold showers can easily supplement a healthy lifestyle to boost weight loss efforts.
6. Boosts hair and skin health
If you have chronically dry hair or skin, cold showers can help make them appear vibrant and healthy once again. Cold water reduces the size of your pores and tightens skin, plus it lowers the number of oils your skin produces in hot temperatures. Hot showers irritate the skin and dry it out, which makes the skin lose moisture. The cold water helps to stimulate hair follicles, which increases vibrancy and length.