The Outrageous Benefits of Cold Showers

This month’s 30 day challenge – taking a cold shower in the morning.

 I don’t know about you, but for me, cold showers always seemed pretty damn cool. I mean, not many people take cold showers. If you do, it puts you in some pretty tough company. James Bond. Pro-athletes. Probably members of the special forces.

But why on Earth would anyone want to take a cold shower?!

The answer to that question, coming right up. In this post, I’m going to try and persuade you to start your own 30 day cold shower challenge.

Six outrageous benefits of cold showers – let’s go!

 

#1: Awaken The Beast (to start the day)

Case study of hot vs. cold showers:

With a hot shower, it’s all lovely and luxurious. So when you get out of bed and the house is all cold, you can retreat into the cosy comfort of the shower. Here’s the problem: because it’s so luxuriously warm, and the rest of the bathroom is cold, we don’t want to leave the shower. Thus starts the mental war of attrition.

“Ok, just 30 seconds more.”

“Actually, nah, another 30 seconds.”

“Oh come on, give me a moment for pities sake!”

So instead of slamming an iron fist into the “off” button and attack the day, you make hundreds of micro-decisions to delay the inevitable. (Or maybe that’s just me.) Eventually, we get out and go about our day.

Luxury rating: 5/5. Way to start the day 2/5. Poor show.

Compare, now, with the same scenario but with a cold shower.

You wake up all bleary eyed, and stumble to the bathroom. You’re still coming round, and you catch a quick glance of yourself in the mirror. You can’t help thinking, “Am I actually crazy???”  You turn on the shower, and see the torrent of cold water pouring downwards. Thoughts of “Holy crap, this is gonna be bloody freezing” gear the adrenaline pumps into overload, and your heart beat quickens.

You face the music, and take the plunge (or the step in this case). You step i- “HOOOOLLLLYYYYYY… SHHHIIIYour breathing goes haywire as hyperventilation begins. Your body is flooded with oxygen, and you rabidly scrub yourself with soap. With time, your breathing may return to normal, and after 3 minutes, you slam the iron fist into “off”.

The water relents, and boy, do you feel ALIVE! The oxygen in your body leaves you super alert. Your brain is buzzing in a host of mood-enhancing endorphins. You feel INSANELY POWERFUL, and it seems only natural to roar out a battle cry.

The beast has been awoken. And you’re now in full attack mode to grab the day by the scuff of its neck.

Sometimes, the beast can’t be woken by coffee aromas and morning TV shows. Sometimes, extreme measures are what the inner beast understands. Unleash the beast with cold showers!

Awesome!

Luxury rating: 0/5. Way to start the day: 5/5.

 

#2: With physical discomfort comes discipline, courage and confidence.

Think about it. If you can get up and have a bloody freezing shower every morning, then what can’t you do??

It takes discipline and a certain degree of courage to leave comfort by the door and take that step into the cold. Not only is this rewarded by awakening the beast, but by flexing your discipline muscles, you gain confidence, and become more disciplined.

With this confidence, increased discipline and courage, you’re now better equipped to handle other challenging situations, whether sports, academics, social situations, public speaking or even forming new habits.

The ability to endure and thrive in physical discomfort strengthens your willpower, making you more able to conquer mental fears. The discipline, courage and confidence born from cold showers spill over into every area of your life.

 

#3: It’s practical.

Wherever you are in the world, the chances of having a cold shower is quite a lot higher than the chances of having a hot shower. Apart from in hot places, hot showers are a luxury. So why not get used to cold showers?

Also, when your boiler inevitably breaks down, or a power cut leaves you hanging for a week without hot water, then you’ll be able to handle it no problems.

 

#4: It could Save your life.

When people who aren’t used to cold water are submerged in cold water, they hyperventilate. But through repeated cold exposure, the body adapts and we hyperventilate less, until not at all.

Question: When people jump off sinking ships or are somehow plunged into cold water unexpectedly, what do you think is the biggest danger to life? Hypothermia? Drowning because of a lack of swimming ability?

It’s definitely not hypothermia:

It is impossible to die from hypothermia in cold water unless you are wearing flotation, because without flotation, you won’t live long enough to become hypothermic.” [1]

The biggest danger, if you land in the water without flotation, is not that you’re not an insanely strong swimmer to reach flotation or land. It’s that you can’t breathe when you hit cold water.

“The first stage of cold water immersion is called the cold shock response. It is a stage of increased heart rate and blood pressure uncontrolled gasping, and sometimes uncontrolled movement. Lasting anywhere from 30 seconds to a couple of minutes, the cold shock response can be deadly all by itself. In fact, of all the people who die in cold water, it is estimated that 20% die in the first two minutes.”

When people hit cold water, they gasp uncontrollably, filling their lungs with water, drowning almost instantly. Cold showers help control the hyperventilation urge, which could end up saving your life.

 

#5: Health

There are a myriad of health benefits associated with cold showers.

Hair and skin: Hot water depletes skin and hair of healthy natural oils. Get your mojo back with cold showers.

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                                                   Because you’re worth it.

Reproductive health in men: Certain body parts chill outside the body for a reason. They need to be kept colder than the rest of the body. So what happens when you take loads of long, hot showers all the time?

Clue: Ancient civilisations used hot water submersion as a contraceptive. It took until 1946 until a formal scientific treatment was created by Dr. M. Voegli of Switzerland. In his programme, “A man sits in a shallow bath of 116°F for 45 minutes daily for 3 weeks. Six months of sterility results, after which normal fertility returns.” For comparison, 116°F = 47°C, and your typical hot shower is 109°F, or 43°C. The programme was “perfectly effective and resulted in normal offspring after cessation.”

Cold showers guys. Cold showers.

Immune system: Exposure to cold water also boosts your immune system. Quick breathing floods the body with oxygen, which increases illness-fighting white blood cell production. A study in England showed that people taking daily cold showers had an increased number of white blood cells compared to hot shower people.

Circulation: Being exposed to “extreme” or large variations in external temperatures forces your body to switch up its circulation. And practice makes perfect, so the body becomes more efficient at constricting blood vessels and the like.

Increase brown fat, decrease white fat: There’s 2 types of fat in the body – brown fat and white fat. Essential to survival, keeps us warm, controls metabolism and burns fat, and regulates white fat – brown fat is good. White fat is caused by eating too many calories, and is bad. Exposure to cold for prolonged periods (swimming in the sea, longer cold showers) promotes brown fat whilst burns white fat. Sweet. Studies show that regular cold-water swimmers, as well as leaner individuals, have more brown fat than other members of the population.

 

#6: Mood enhancer.

With cold showers, you get such a hit of endorphins that you can’t help but feel pretty darn awesome afterwards, leaving you with this positive glow for the rest of the day. Also, they take your mind off things. If you sit in a freezing cold shower, I’d find it incredible if you could think of anything else but the “off” button. Personally, I reckon cold showers would be the perfect replacement for anti-depressant prescriptions. Cleansing mind and soul.

Seriously kids. Don’t do drugs, do cold showers.

 

Summary: 6 Outrageous Benefits of Cold Showers

  1. Awakens the Beast (What a start to the day!)
  2. Discipline, courage and confidence spill into other areas of life.
  3. Practical. Cold showers are everywhere.
  4. They could save your life.
  5. Health (hair, skin, reproductive, immune system, circulation, body fat)
  6. Feel awesome effect.

 

That’s all from me. Hopefully, I’ve persuaded you to give cold showers a go yourself. Honestly, just try ONE cold shower. After you see how incredible you feel afterwards, you won’t be turning back. 30 day challenge, baby!

As always, Dream Big, Start Small!

Lots of love,

Iain

 

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photo credit: Cold via photopin (license)

 
photo credit: 900 lbs via photopin (license)