Curious about all the buzz surrounding cold showers as of late? Wherever you look – from Instagram and TikTok to popular news sites – it’s hard to escape the hype around plunging the temperature to uncomfortably chilly levels. Well, turns out there might be a bit of truth to the rumours – here are 4 reasons to add cold showers to your daily regime.
1. The endorphin boost
Endorphins are those feel-good hormones that lift our mood and pump us full of motivation and positivity. Using water as therapy is an emerging treatment for mental health conditions, with studies finding cold showers may significantly reduce symptoms of depression. Just 5 minutes in the shower a few times a week is enough to feel the mood-boosting effects of a cool wash. This works as the shock of cold water jolts electrical impulses to your brain which improve mental clarity, low mood and low motivation. With depression rates through the roof – 1 in 7 Aussies will develop the condition at some point in their life, while 1 in 16 of us are living with the condition now – it’s worth adding a cold shower to the mix. Plus, you’ll save money on hot water.
2. Speeds up your metabolism
Yep, your daily shower could help you improve your metabolism. Turning the temperature down could increase your levels of brown fat – contrary to how it sounds, this is the healthy kind of fat which keeps our weight in check. A study found that cold showers can improve your metabolism and may even reduce your risk for obesity. It may also help balance your hormones, which is an essential part of a healthy appetite and sleep schedule. Win, win!
3. Boosts circulation and immunity
There’s a reason your favourite Olympic athletes and tennis stars boast about their frequent cold showers – some even take it further and jump into an ice bath, though that might be a little too far for us – and it’s all to do with the effects on the muscles. Cold water can help strengthen and heal our muscles due to the increased movement of blood it promotes. This is where we’ll see improved circulation, which is essential for the following:
- Faster-healing wounds
- Reduced swelling
- Mental clarity
- Healthy skin
This is because our bodies have to exert more effort to maintain our temperature when faced with cool temperatures, which gets our circulatory system moving. But our immunity also comes into play here. Studies show that cold showers rocket our white blood cells to higher levels, and these are essential for fighting disease. How, you ask? Well, it’s all to do with the higher metabolic rate which supports our immune system’s response to pathogens. One of the disease-fighting cells stimulated by a cold shower includes leukocytes. These have been found to increase our defences against cold and flu. Studies have even shown that cold showers can improve our resistance to cancer.
4. Improves skin and hair health
Hot water can dry out your skin and leave you prone to acne breakouts and worsen inflammatory conditions like eczema and psoriasis. Plus, cold water works wonders for your hair – it not only helps keep your scalp free of excess oil and dirt as it tightens the pores, it also reduces the frizz that hot temperatures can exacerbate. This is because the hot water – and the additional metals that come with it – mess with your hair’s pH levels.
While cold showers may provide a range of benefits, it’s important not to dive right into the deep end right away. Easing into colder showers is a healthy way to start reaping the benefits – too much of a shock might make it harder for you to commit or tire your body out. Here are a few tips to get you plunging into the cooler temps with ease:
- Start off warm: It’s okay to bookend your showers with warmer temperatures, this can make it easier to hype yourself up, while still getting the cold water benefits.
- Slowly reduce the temp: You can start off a little cooler than your usual temperature, but each day move the tap a little further away from "hot".
- Enjoy a fun activity: If you’ve got a waterproof speaker, now’s the time to use it. A little music or a podcast can help take your mind off the cold water.
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