If you come from a large family, you can probably relate — you turn on the tap to have a shower, only to find that all the hot water has been used up. Ugh, not again! As you tolerate your cold shower, you curse your little brother for using all the hot water.
However, it turns out, what you considered an unfortunate reality, is actually a beneficial experience. And if you now have a house of your own, free of little brothers, you can choose to have a cold shower. The following six benefits will explain why a cold shower isn’t so bad after all:
Increase your body’s ability to deal with stress and disease
Exposing your body to a cold natural stimulus can increase tolerance to stress and improve the immune system. In Sweden, it’s common to place babies outdoors in the cold during nap time. The theory is that the cold, fresh air makes the babies more resistant to illness and disease.
An exciting study, published in QJM: An International Journal of Medicine, reported that short-term exposure to the cold improved antioxidative adaption. It was found that swimmers who regularly swam in ice-cold water experienced a decrease in uric acid levels, reducing their risk of disease. The swimmers also showed an increase in glutathione, which is a potent antioxidant.
Boost energy levels
If you’re dragging your feet in the morning, a cold shower may be the answer. As cold water hits your body, your breathing becomes more rapid, increasing overall oxygen intake. Your heart rate will also increase, pumping oxygen-rich blood throughout your body. These natural effects combat fatigue, while increasing alertness.
Trim some fat
In 2014, it was reported by the World Health Organization that 1.9 billion people were overweight. Of this sample, 600 million were considered to be obese. We’re currently facing an epidemic, which is fueling the popularity of fad diets and dangerous weight loss drugs.
Nothing can replace a balanced diet and an active lifestyle; however, cold water will naturally boost your metabolic rate. To better understand how this works, you need to focus on two types of fat: white and brown.
White fat is that stubborn fat you can’t seem to get rid of, while brown fat is adipose tissue that’s used to generate heat. Once exposed to colder temperatures, brown fat is activated, burning calories to keep you warm. These small packets of brown fat are said to produce three hundred times more heat than any other bodily tissue. Not only are more calories burned, but harmful white fat may also be targeted and eliminated.
Support optimal recovery after exercise
If you’re an athlete, you have probably heard of beneficial “contrast showers” after an intense training session. A cold shower can reduce inflammation and delayed-onset muscle soreness after a workout. This is because the cold water encourages circulation throughout the body, meaning blood will not pool in the muscles and lactic acid will clear more rapidly. When you take a hot shower, blood rushes to your skin, providing a soothing effect on your muscles.
Reduce symptoms of depression
Varying temperatures on the skin can impact mood and combat symptoms of depression. Once the skin is exposed to colder temperatures, blood moves away from the surface of the body and rushes to internal organs, including the brain. Fresh oxygen and nutrient-rich blood can have an invigorating effect on the brain.
A study published in Medical Hypotheses found that cold showers increase blood levels of noradrenaline and beta-endorphin. The study states, “Additionally, due to the high density of cold receptors in the skin, a cold shower is expected to send an overwhelming amount of electrical impulses from peripheral nerve endings to the brain, which could result in an anti-depressive effect.”
Support optimal skin and hair health
When you wash with hot water, you actually exacerbate problematic skin conditions, such as dandruff, acne, and eczema. Cold showers, however, are known to tighten pores and cuticles. This promotes balance, locking in moisture and preventing the accumulation of dirt.
The next time there’s no hot water, don’t frown — that cold shower is on your side.
—The Alternative Daily