If you’re like the majority of people, you shower fairly regularly, and the water is warm or even hot, right?
After reading this, you will probably only want to have cold showers for the rest of your life.
In fact, I can’t remember the last time I had a HOT shower, start to finish. I usually have a warmish shower and then end with a freezing cold ice shower. I know what you’re thinking, WHY?
So why would you have a cold shower, when the hot water works just fine? Well, there are actually several health benefits to cold showers. Some may surprise you. In fact, it’s almost ALWAYS better to have a cold shower than a warm one, and there actually lots of reasons.
So let’s think about the concept of showering, you stand underneath running water, for about 10 minutes, wash yourself and then get out. You usually feel refreshed and ready for the day (or evening). It’s a nice feeling, and it is a healthy thing to do, but why have a cold shower? Let’s go through some of the health benefits.
Benefits of cold showers
By the way, if you’re thinking of starting to have cold showers, make sure you’re ready for it. It can be intense, especially if you’ve never done it before, or you’re really used to using hot water for your washing. Try starting with a cold shower at the END of your normal hot shower.
1: Cold showers improve your blood circulation
Your blood circulation is improved and ‘kick started’ with a cold shower. Usually, the blood in your body flows around, and is spread out, flowing through all of your limbs etc.
When you introduce very cold water to the outside of your body, it forces the blood to rush to your internal organs, to keep them warm, and this rushing of blood literally makes your circulation work better.
It pushes the blood all around your body, and causes you to breath deeply and makes your heart beat faster. Doing this daily improves your blood circulation, which in turn means you can:
- Heal faster. Your improved blood flow means you take less time to bounce back from injuries and illnesses.
- Feel more motivated. Because there is literally more blood flowing around your brain and body.
- Get motivated more easily. Especially if you cold shower in the morning, you will feel pumped and ready for anything all day.
- Strengthen your immune system. The increased blood flow means the normal healing process for any illness/sickness is improved, usually as much as twice the normal rate of healing if you cold shower every day.
2: Cold showers strengthen your immune system
Cold showers force your breathing to get deeper, your blood flow and heart rate to increase, and your mucus membranes to thicken, meaning it’s less likely you’ll get a cold. Ironically, cold showers are a good way to prevent the common cold.
In fact, I can’t remember the last time I got hayfever, or a cold.
And I used to get them ALL the time until I started having cold showers every day. This is a real benefit that people around me have also noticed too. I used to get hayfever every single day of the Summer, every year.
Now, maybe the pollen is a different type, or something else has changed? I’ve also changed my diet to being vegan which could also have an effect. But the colds? I never seem to get colds even if my partner, friends, family or people I’m in close contact with have them.
3: They’re difficult!
Your comfort zone includes anything you do regularly, and feel ‘safe’ or comfortable doing. Anything outside of this is regarded as strange, scary, or not needed. But that’s not a good mindset.
The first few cold showers will not be easy, you will probably find yourself screaming some expletive, but this is no reason to give up. Keep going, and whatever you do don’t ‘half do’ it, and start adding hot water. Just do it all the way form the first shower, all cold water.
Here’s a tip; panicking and breathing fast will make it more of a shock.
Here’s how to do it properly, stand with your shoulders and whole body relaxed and loose. Turn the cold water on, let it run over you. Don’t jump back, just keep your feet where they are, breath deeply and slowly, and close your eyes if it helps.
Try not to tense your muscles to ‘resist the cold’ it won’t work, and it makes it feel colder. Try to relax.
Life begins outside of this comfort zone, and having a daily cold shower is one way to start pushing yourself beyond your limits and seeing how far you can go.
4: Improve your bodies temperature regulation
Your body naturally controls its temperature with blood flow. The problem is, most of us NEVER exercise our blood (vascular system).
By having a cold shower you are keeping this system working hard like it should be, you will find that if you have a cold shower on a cold day, when you step out you’ll start to heat up quickly. What seemed cold before, now seems warm. This is your bodies thermal regulators kicking in and activating.
But more importantly, by forcing your body to use blood to warm itself up from the inside out, you exercise all those tiny blood vessels that might normally be left unused. This over time leads to a super powerful and effective body, that almost never gets colds and hayfever.
You’ll also become superhuman in Winter, not needing anywhere NEAR as many layers as the people around you! I regularly go around in just shorts and a T shirt in all seasons now.
5: It’s a challenge
Cold showers really are the best showers to have, because they get you so pumped and motivated it’s like you’re a new person!
They increase your testosterone, which if you’re a guy means you can workout more productively at the gym, lift more and get stronger. I’m not sure about the hormonal effect they have on women however, so do your research girls!
Try the 30 day shower challenge: Have a cold shower every day for 30 days, and see how different you feel. This means ‘cold’ showers, as in, no hot water added into the mix, only use the cold tap. Don’t do it halfway, do it properly. You’ll feel so different, you’ll never want to have a hot shower again.
Can you get sick by taking a cold shower?
Nope. It’s a myth that you can get sick if you take a cold shower.
I think the danger comes if you spend too long in the cold shower, and then go out into the cold wearing not enough clothing. Just make sure you have cold showers and then get changed into normal clothes.
Of course, you might get sick if you have a cold shower and then instantly jump into a pair of shorts and run around in the Winter snow. The reason people think you’ll get sick if you get cold is that many diseases like colds and flus are spread more easily in the lower temperatures.
Cold showers and your skin
Cold water is actually REALLY good for your skin. On our skin we have thousands of tiny pores, and each pore excretes sebum and oil. This oil is good for your skin but by having warm showers, we STIRP the oil away, leaving our skin dry.
This also applies to your hair, especially if it’s long. By taking warm showers, you’re stripping the body of all the oil it actually needs to keep you looking beautiful. What actually can happen is that if you have too many warm showers at too high a temperature, the body produces WAY more oil than it needs to.
This causes your pores to get blocked and can lead to skin issues like acne. Cold water however, locks in moisture and helps the skin maintain the perfect balance of PH and oil levels. The same thing applies to hair.
Cold showers in Winter?
Winter shouldn’t be when you STOP having cold showers. In fact you should continue having cold showers during the Winter months. It will make you more resistant to the cold, and you’ll need less layers in the cold.
That being said, if you DO get sick during Winter, make sure you keep yourself warm so your body is more easily able to fight off the infection. Cold showers are good for prevention of sickness, not treatment usually.
That being said though, I’ve noticed that if I have a freezing shower while I have a streaming cold, it MASSIVELY reduces swelling inflammation and the overall irritated redness you get when you’ve had a cold and streaming eyes for a few days.
Dangers of cold showers
There aren’t really any dangers of cold showers, other than if you have heart problems they should be avoided. Cold showers naturally force your blood to pump round your body a lot more, and this can be dangerous for people with heart problems.
It’s worth just asking your doctor if you’re not sure about cold showers. It’s also worth mentioning that cold water increases blood flow, so it will ACCELERATE any substance in your blood. Read that again.
That means for example, if you’ve just taken a drug, or had a coffee, by stimulating blood flow you make the effects of that substance MUCH stronger. This can be good or bad, depending on what substance you’ve taken.
What about ice baths?
Ice baths are something I’ve been really experimenting with lately. In fact, I’ve found the benefits you get from ice baths are very similar to the effects of ice showers. To learn more, read my post about taking ice baths and how they work.