Better skin, fat-burning, possible mood boosts? Cold showers FTW.
We’ve all been there; a bath so hot that it takes minutes to enter, but once submerged, it’s a liquid blanket we never want to leave. Or taking a shower so steamy that the walls are soaked, your skin is a tingly red and you curse the cold air that greets you when you leave it. We all love hot water so much that turning the tap to “C” seems like a punishment. Of course, for decades, high profile athletes have used ice baths as an extreme (and dubious) method of muscle recovery and cryotherapy is making it’s way into the mainstream by claiming to combat weight gain and chronic conditions. But, it turns out, depriving ourselves of cold showers may actually be depriving us of major health benefits. So, brace yourself, and embrace these chilly benefits.
It actually keeps you warmer
You’d swear the opposite is true, but a cold shower is an efficient way to keep you warm on the inside. Your body is always working on keeping a normal core temperature, relative to what’s going on outside of it. So when you take a hot shower, you’re receiving so much heat externally, that your body strives to keep itself cool (through sweating and flushing) – which is why getting out of the shower into the cooler air is such a miserable experience. Conversely, in a cold shower, your body revs it’s core temperature to keep yourself warm. Sure, the first few moments are cold, but if you can withstand the initial blast, you can feel your body turn on it’s warmth.
Better for your hair and skin
If your appearance may be lacking, getting colder can lead to healthier looking hair and skin. Hot water strips your skin and hair of their natural oils, making them either very dry or – if you have already oily skin – even more oily. Cold water, on the other hand, can lock in the oil, retaining moisture along with shrinking your pores, which can reduce redness and puffiness (which is why we use cold compresses to lessen bags around the eyes). Furthermore, the cold can increase your circulation, leading to a healthier glow.
Good for your mood
Though the research is still ongoing, cold showers have been claimed to improve a slew of conditions including depression and anxiety. Stimulating the brain and nervous system, the icy blast can release adrenal hormones (keeping you happy) and control cortisol levels (helping you manage stress). On a non-scientific level, there’s something about the act that is very emboldening and uplifting. First, getting enough gumption to turn that tap is quite an act of willpower and if you voluntarily get hit with cold water first thing in the morning, there’s not much else that can phase you for the rest of the day.