If you have read any of the James Bond books, you surely have noticed his unique take on showers. Bond, tough guy extraordinaire, started with hot water, but turned the temperature down to freezing cold for the very end of his bathing routine. This character quirk is theorized to be a nod to Bond’s Scottish ancestry, since a “hot-to-cold” shower is often referred to as a “Scottish Shower.”
1. Cold showers burn fat
There are two kinds of fat in your body: white fat and brown fat. White fat is the bad guy (think the Joker) and brown fat is the good guy (think Batman). White fat is the body fat we all know and struggle to get rid of. When we consume more calories than our body needs to function and we don’t burn those calories for energy, they are stored as white fat, which tends to accumulate at your waist, lower back, neck, and thighs. Brown fat is the good guy you might have never even heard of, and its function is to generate heat to keep your body warm. Here’s the good news: when brown fat is activated due to extreme cold, it burns calories to keep you warm, which could provide a helpful assist in your weight loss plan. How much of an assist? Scandinavian researchers found that exposure to cold temperatures increased the metabolic rate of brown fat by fifteen fold, which could help a person drop nine pounds in a year if sustained.
2. Cold showers boost recovery after exercise
Athletes often take ice baths after vigorous training do reduce soreness. You don’t have to take it that far, but you can obtain a similar benefit with a quick cold shower after your training sessions. Maybe dropping a pencil or walking upstairs won’t be quite so agonizing with a little dose of cold after all of that running.
3. Cold showers increase mood and alertness
Who doesn’t feel a bit groggy when they take that first step out of bed? This is something everyone struggles with, but if you’d like to put some pep in your step first thing in the a.m., take a cold shower before you go to work. When cold water pours over your body, your breathing deepens in response to the shock of the cold (this is your body trying to keep you warm by increasing overall oxygen intake). Your heart rate will also increase, resulting in a rush of blood through your body that will help you get energized for the day.
4. Cold showers strengthen immunity and circulation
Remember how I mentioned that cold showers speed up your metabolic rate, which helps you lose fat? The increase of this rate activates your immune system, which releases virus-fighting white blood cells that will help you get sick less frequently. Cold showers also increase your overall blood circulation, which can help you avoid hypertension and the hardening of arteries.
5. Cold showers give you attractive hair and skin
If you’d like to reduce the appearance of acne, cold showers could do the job. Hot water dries out your skin, while cold water tightens your cuticles and pores, preventing them from getting clogged. You can also use cold showers for shinier, more attractive hair that your partner can’t resist playing with. Cold water will close your cuticle, making it less likely dirt can accumulate in your scalp. For further reading that will help you improve your skin appearance, check out these four skin care hacks for people who think they’ve tried everything.
Check out Lifehack to see their article.
6. Cold Showers Increase Testosterone
One of the coolest benefits of cold showers, for men, is that they will cause a rise in testosterone levels.
How much is hard to say, but according to this study, heat (even in small amounts) has an effect on our DNA, RNA & protein synthesis in the male testes. Fun fact: This is why our balls hang outside of our body, to stay cool. This study backs this, showing that just 15 minutes of increased heat in rat testes showed a big drop in testosterone.
All that, and the fact that Russian weightlifters used to sit out in the cold before competitions, leads me to believe there is something to this cold shower and testosterone theory.
7. And They Drain Your Lymphatic System
An additional, yet crucial, part of the body that is affected by cold showers is the lymphatic system. What the lymphatic system does is help carry out waste from your cells. This is key in defending your body from unwanted infections. And when the lymphatic system is blocked, it will show up in symptoms such as frequent colds, infections and joint pain.
Cold showers, when alternated between hot and cold water will help your lymphatic system, by contracting the lymph vessels when exposed to the cold and relaxing them when exposed to the heat. This essentially pumps the fluid that may have stagnated in your lymph vessels out, resulting in a stronger immune system and healthier you.
Learn more about this process below.
8. Energized Breathing
Step into a cold shower and the first thing you are going to do is take a big deep breath.
After that you will start panting and moving, your breathing will become deep and erratic.
You get a massive boost of energy from that increased breathing that cold shower forces you to do. The boost of energy can be a good alternative for a morning coffee that will kick your physiology into another gear.
9. Cold Showers Relieve Depression
One of the most noted benefits of taking cold showers is that they offer relief for symptoms of depression.
Cold showers stimulate what is known as “the blue spot,” which is the brains primary source of noradrenaline – a chemical which plays a role in alleviating depression.
Plus the mild electroshock delivered to the brain by the cold shower (you’ll know exactly what I mean) sends an overwhelming amount of electrical impulses from peripheral nerve endings to the brain, which could result in an anti-depressive effect. There is a high density of cold receptors in the skin, much more than there are for registering warmth.
And according to this study, it’s not all just hearsay.
At the end of every shower, I like to just let that cold water blast me on the top of the head for as long as I can take it. Talk about brain freeze.
10. Cold Showers Improve Immunity
One of the most important benefits of cold showers is the fact that they increase your immunity.
A study from England showed that taking regular cold showers increases the amount of disease fighting white blood cells, compared to that of those who take regular hot showers. The hypothesis was that the boys attempted to warm it’s self during the cold shower, resulting in an increase in the metabolic speed rate and activation of the immune system. This then leads to the release of more white blood cells.
On top of that, remember back to point #2 and how the cold water swimmers bodies were more adaptive to oxidative stress. (A.K.A, their bodies can take a hit)
Check out Menprovement to see the article on cold therapy