A cold shower is probably the very last thing you want when winter rolls around, but the chilly dip might just be worth it. It may sound crazy, but research has shown that the drop in temperature can bring a myriad of health benefits.
Cold water speeds up your heart rate, causes deeper breathing and sends a rush of energy through the body, creating a natural boost. Though the shower only takes a few minutes, in most cases the energy boost lasts well into the day.
A quicker heart rate in response to the chilly water gets blood pumping and the body responds to cold by sending blood to the vital organs. Better circulation is good for cardiovascular health and helps us recover faster from strenuous exercise.
Taking dunks in an ice bath has long been a practice of dedicated athletes—and for good reason. Cold water immersion helps decrease inflammation, rid the body of lactic acid build-up and lessen the symptoms of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS).
Research suggests exposure to cold water might help alleviate symptoms of depression by sending signals to the brain to release the hormone noradrenaline.
Cold showers help with weight loss in two ways; first, your body will try to heat itself up, thereby burning more calories. Then, cold water is said to activate brown fat—good fat that helps with body heat and metabolism. Brown fat helps burn the bad white and yellow fat that you might find on your thighs and midsection. One study found that exposure to cold temperatures increased brown fat activity 15-fold, which would lead to about nine pounds in weight loss if done regularly over the course of a year.
Sleepless nights wreak havoc on your health, so any trick that might help you sleep is invaluable. A cold shower roughly an hour before bed might help you sleep by cooling you off and sending internal signals that say it’s time for bed.
You might know that hot water dries out skin and hair, which can mean rough itchy skin and scalps, but very cold water can offer additional benefits. Cold water closes up pores temporarily, which will prevent them from getting clogged and makes hair appear healthier and shinier by flattening hair follicles.