Showering is an essential part of a healthy routine, but depending on the temperature and time you spend underwater you can offer different benefits.
Surely you do not like to bathe with cold water, less in seasons like winter and autumn, but cold showers have many health benefits that you surely do not know.
Taking a cold shower for the last five minutes can help to “shock” your body awake. This instant change in temperature relieves your body from fatigue and increases your mental alertness.
Researchers recommend a “colder” shower (about 68 degrees) for two or three minutes once or twice a day as a treatment for depression.
Why is it good to bathe in cold water?
1. Increases alertness
Taking a cold shower in the morning, and feeling the cold water pouring over our body seems more horrible than soothing. However, deep breathing in response to shock from our body helps us to stay warm as it increases our total oxygen intake.
Therefore, our heart rate will also increase, releasing a torrent of blood throughout our body. This gives us a natural dose of energy for the day.
2. It has benefits for hair and skin
When it comes to hair and skin, one of the most natural ways to keep your appearance is with cold showers.
Hot water has a tendency to dry our skin, so it is best to use cold water to tighten the cuticles and pores, which will prevent them from drying out.
Cold water can “seal” the pores on the skin and scalp too, preventing dirt from getting in.
Frosty or warm water can help our skin and prevent it from stripping off its healthy natural oils too quickly. Remember that cold water only temporarily tightens the skin as it restricts blood flow, but does not reduce the pores.
When it comes to hair care, cold water showers can make your hair look brighter, stronger and healthier by flattening hair follicles, and increase your ability to grab the scalp.
3. Improves immunity and circulation
Cold water can improve circulation by encouraging blood to surround our organs, which can help fight some skin and heart problems.
As cold water hits the body, it improves the ability to get blood flowing through the arteries to pump it more efficiently by carrying oxygen throughout the body, thus boosting our overall and heart health, according to Dr. Joseph Mercola, an expert on natural health.
It can also lower blood pressure , clear blocked arteries and improve our immune system .
4. Stimulates weight loss
Cold showers can help weight loss in an unexpected way. The human body contains two types of fatty tissue, white fat and brown fat.
White fat builds up when we consume more calories than our body needs to function, and we do not burn these calories for energy. This body fat builds up in our waist, lower back, neck and thighs, and is the one we all struggle to eliminate.
Brown fat is good fat, which generates heat to keep our body warm, and activates when exposed to extreme cold, according to the Joslin Diabetes Center, a member of Harvard Medical School. Therefore, cold showers can promote the removal of brown fat.
A 2009 study found that exposure to extreme cold temperatures triggered brown fat in 23 of 24 participants, which means that someone could lose up to nine pounds in a year if kept this practice.
5. Accelerate muscle pain relief and recovery
We’ve all seen athletes taking ice baths after workout to reduce muscle soreness , but a quick cold shower after sweating in the gym can be just as effective, especially in relieving muscle soreness after physical activity.
A 2009 study that analyzed 17 trials involved more than 360 people who rested or immersed in cold water after resistance, cycling or running. It was found that 24-minute cold water baths were effective in relieving sore muscles one to four days after exercise with a water temperature of 50 to 59 degrees Fahrenheit, or 10 to 15 degrees Celsius. However, some studies involved colder temperatures.
6. Eliminate stress
Jumping into the shower without letting it get hot, or entering the ocean without slowly acclimatizing to it, can help promote increased stress tolerance, and even resistance to any disease. A 1994 study found a drastic decrease in uric acid levels during and after exposure to a cold stimulus.
There was also an increase in glutathione, an antioxidant that keeps all other antioxidants at optimum levels. Participants, who were 10 healthy people who regularly swim in icy water during the winter, adapted to repeated oxidative stress.
7. Relieves depression
Cold showers have been shown to relieve symptoms of depression due to the intense impact of cold receptors on the skin, which send an overwhelming amount of electrical impulses from the peripheral nerve endings to the brain.
It therefore produces an antidepressant effect, and boosts moods, so it works as a natural antidepressant. A 2008 study found that cold hydrotherapy has an analgesic effect, and does not appear to have noticeable side effects or cause dependence.
This treatment included one or two cold showers of 38 degrees Fahrenheit, two to three minutes in duration, followed by a gradual adaptation of five minutes to make the procedure shock the human body