You may have heard about the trend for cold-water swimming and the growing evidence that this can have a positive effect on our physical and mental health. Don’t worry, you don’t need to rush for a dip in the nearest lake, you can find the same benefits from taking a cold shower at home!
Cold water showers are seen to have many health benefits for the body. Although it can be difficult to stand under a cold shower, building up to this is essential. Turning to cold at the end of your shower for 30 seconds, then gradually building up each time is a great way to start.
Here are just a few of the benefits; increased metabolism, improved circulation, and a positive effect on our mental health.
Metabolism – a cold shower is said to increase your metabolism. Research is still limited to prove this but the cold water can help regulate hormones in the gastrointestinal system allowing for improved metabolism.
Circulation – reducing the temperature of an area of the body speeds up the delivery of warmer and freshly oxygenated blood, which can help promote healing and circulation. This is why you hear about ice baths that athletes use post events.
Mental health benefits – cold water showers can release endorphins. The coldness of the water causes a shock response in the body, activating the sympathetic nervous system. This stimulates your brain, releasing endorphins, the happy hormone, which reduces stress. This enables you to become more alert, improves clarity and increases energy levels. When your body becomes accustomed to the stress response of exposure to cold water, it can have a positive effect on how you relate to other stressful situations in our life, so it has an effect ever after you’ve been exposed to cold water.
All in all, there are good health benefits to standing under a cold shower. However you need to take into account your own conditions and always build up slowly to avoid too much shock to your body.