The Benefits of Cold Showers In Winter: How Showering Is Empowering?
Cold showers definitely wake us up on many levels. Though our heart aches for a warm water bath, especially in teeth-chattering winters, there are benefits of cold showers that come to you as a value add-on!! Curious, anyone?
Candle lights! The scent of aromatherapy wafted across the washroom. I am lying in the bathtub, listening to calming jazz and blowing off bubbles from the orange-scented bath bomb I ordered online yesterday…
Wait! The alarm rang and I am up…. I cannot be late for the office today as I have an important meeting coming up. Whipping up a quick breakfast for all, I dash out of the home. This is Elizabeth!
On the other side of the continent, Camila woke up to the cries of her two-year-old. Half asleep, she fed her and rocked her to sleep, when the alarm rang for her to get up and get going with her routine, which includes a husband, two kids, a dog, an apartment, and a part-time job.
Indira used to get up, have a quick shower, and rush to the college she was teaching in, after making breakfast and reminding her daughter, a seven-year-old, Rani, to go to school at least that day. And after a long day of lecturing the students and the brat back home, she would have a quick wash, have dinner, and hit the sack.
Stories of women are written with the same ink anywhere, everywhere! A long drawn bath with candles flickering to her joyful mind looks farfetched to many. A woman is the queen pin, around which a whole family revolves. Without a woman, the whole domestic front goes to a screeching stop. Sundays are socializing days and again Monday, Tuesday…on and on!
This is when Elizabeth, Camila, and Indira stumbled upon this article on the benefits of cold showering in winter, right at the time they were sulking about not being able to have the luxury of a warm long drawn bath! They read on:
Are Cold Showers Healthy?
Showering at 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit is what we call a cold shower. Cold showers bring in many health benefits and help maintain good health in numerous ways. It helps reduce inflammation, pain, stress levels, muscle soreness, and tiredness. But it may affect those with stiff joints, cardiac patients, and those suffering from insomnia, adversely.
In a BBC program, Iceman Wim Hof points out that cold water stirs up the cardiovascular system and improves its function. Just like we go to the gym to work out muscles, we train millions of tiny muscles in the cardiovascular system with a cold shower.
The Benefits of Cold Showers In Winter
There are numerous benefits of taking cold showers. A cold shower releases endorphins in the body, thereby promoting feelings of happiness or euphoria, the release of sex hormones, an increase in pain threshold, and enhanced immunity, to name a few.
Celebrities like Toni Robbins highlight the benefits of a cold shower in the morning. He claims to plunge into a 57- degree Fahrenheit pool of water, regardless of whether it is winter or spring.
Thus, it may be worth scrolling down the article before you consider switching your mind from a cold shower to a warm one.
1. Cold showers in winter increase our circulation:
During winter, we limit our physical activities due to sloth and snow. This makes blood circulation sluggish. When cold water splashes on your body, the survival instinct sets in, and revs up the circulatory system to up the blood flow to provide warmth to the vital organs, while constricting the circulation below the skin, simultaneously. This pumps up the circulation. Thus, blood circulation is stimulated and increased.
2. Cold showers in winter help combat seasonal depression:
There is something called seasonal depression that many get affected by, especially in areas where the daylight/ sunlight becomes minimum during certain seasons. People in such areas are drawn to depression.
Cold showers in winter help us with fighting against the symptoms of depression along with other traditional remedies. A study by the University School of Medicine, Richmond, points out that depressive symptoms were relieved in those who took two or three cold showers per week(1).
3. Build Mental Resilience:
It is considered by many that it is quite an ordeal to take a cold shower. So it is quite natural to be hesitant to take the plunge during winter. It takes high mental resilience to try out the cold showers in winter and prove that the ‘mind controls the body’ oneself. This is touted to build mental toughness as well. It will also reduce cortisol(2) levels, thus reducing stress.
4. Cold showers in winter helps in weight loss:
Never a substitute for a healthy workout, cold showers are said to help you shed some weight. During the winters, with the holiday vibes set in, we have a less active life. With room heaters and cozy clothing, we stay warm as in summer. Hence, there is no effort on the part of the body to stay warm. These add up to our calories.
Cold showers in winter boost the metabolic process, which in turn helps with the shedding of weight. When the body tries to keep itself warm after the dash of frigid water, there is some energy is expended in creating some warmth within, which helps burn the extra calories.
5. Cold showers prepare us for the cold clime outside:
When we get up groggily, after the last snoozing session the phone allowed, brushing our teeth in partial wakefulness, we never can imagine how a cold shower wakes us up and enables us to get ready to seize the day with a fresh blast of energy, ready to brave the cold outside.
Cold showers in winter fire our sympathetic nervous system(3), which is responsible for our adrenaline secretion and the resultant fight-or-flight response to danger. This the why you feel you are fully loaded through the whole day.
6. Boost male fertility:
Generally, there is a tendency among men to wear snug thermals and prefer hot baths during winter. This is a threat to the sperm men down there. They need a cool environment to thrive, and a cold shower aids that.
7. Cold showers help with cold compression:
Post-workout, muscle aches and swelling will be common. Cold showers in winter can aid in the hastening of the recovery process of the muscles and reduce soreness. This is called cold compression(5).
Research by the South Australian Sports Institute concluded that immersing in cold water significantly lowered the perception of muscle soreness among athletes.
8. Reduce oxidative stress:
Cold showers in winter is found to boost the production of glutathione, which is an antioxidant that helps reduce oxidative stress. Especially with the radiation and pollution in the environment, oxidative stress levels are increasing, which leads to several health conditions like cancer, Alzheimer’s, etc. It also boosts the aging process.
9. Cold showers help combat mood swings:
Girlfriends know it! Yesterday I was a good person but today I am ruthless! Mood swings tend to affect our relationships, career, and our life. Hormones rage within us and sometimes you want to stay low for the sake of world peace!
It is reported that when we take cold showers, electrical impulses are sent from the nerve endings to the brain, resulting in a feel-good, antidepressant mode. Cold showers in winter trigger the production of noradrenaline and beta-endorphins, which put us in a relaxed, happy state of mind.
10. Boost our immunity:
A clinical trial was conducted in the Netherlands which concluded that cold showers apparently reduced the number of people calling in sick, by a good 29 percent.
Research shows evidence that taking icy cold showers will improve your immunity. Another research found a link between cold showers and cancer survival rates.
11. Cold showers in winter are great for your skin and mane:
Women first, Beauty first! Cold showers help tighten your pores, especially after you have had a sauna or a steaming session. Let’s admit it, cleansing, toning, and moisturizing has been written in our holy grail. We steam our faces and try to ooze out the blackheads as well. Try taking a cold shower afterward and you will see that your pores are less visible after the shower.
Retaining moisture in your skin and your tresses is the primary benefit of cold showers, as it does not wipe away sebum, which is a natural layer that protects the hair and the skin. Cold showers close and strengthen the hair cuticles. If you have dry skin and hair, cold showers are your go-to, along with your moisturizing regimen.
Is It Good To Take Cold Showers In Winter?
Cold showers in winter may not be ideal if you already have a cold, as it could make it worse. Cold showers will make it longer for the body to get back into a state of natural warmth. If you have conditions like arthritis or respiratory conditions, cold showers in winter may not be a great idea. On the contrary, hot showers may help loosen the phlegm and will be easy on the joints.
Have you ever wondered about something that is so rudimentary, like how to take a cold shower? The best way to take a cold shower would be to start with warm water, then decrease it to tolerable levels of cold water, and immerse in the cold for a short while, the duration which you can increase gradually. Health first, everyone. Listen to your bodies!
Can you get a heart attack by taking a cold shower?
Not really! But if you already have a heart condition, then it’s better not to risk it. As a response to the cold water, additional stress is bound to be put on the heart, leading to irregular heartbeat, arrhythmia, or angina.
How cold is too cold for a shower?
It varies from person to person. You must listen to your inner voice, which will warn you what ‘ too cold means ‘. In the program “Freeze the Fear”, Wim Hof who holds the Guinness Book of World Records for swimming under ice, tells the participants to have a cold water shower of 12 degrees centigrade every day, no matter summer or winter, increasing the duration over time from 15 seconds to two minutes.
Does taking cold showers increase your chances of catching a cold?
Taking cold showers cannot get you a cold, but if you are already hibernating, then it may not be a good idea to take a cold shower, as it would take longer for the body to get back to its normal temperature.
Before you turn on the shower nozzle, you should bear in mind your health conditions.
The Middle Path is not just about Buddhism, it helps in your shower regimen too. A risk-free technique for people with different body types would be showering in lukewarm water. There are also some health freaks who try a contrast shower, where one alternates between showering in cold and hot water for a minute each.
The hot water shower opens the pores and blood vessels while the cold shower will constrict them. This method will help the blood flow which will help with the renewal of cells as well as detox.
Girls, stay healthy and beautiful with a cold shower in winter too! Fresh and clean, relish being fine!! ♥️
NCBI Literature Resources. (n.d). Adapted cold shower as a potential treatment for depression. [Online] Available at:https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17993252/
National Library of Medicine. (n.d). Cortisol. [Online] Available at:https://medlineplus.gov/lab-tests/cortisol-test/
StatPearls Publishing LLC. (2022). Cortisol. [Online] Available at:https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK542195/
Springer Nature Switzerland AG. (2022). Impact of Cold-Water Immersion Compared with Passive Recovery Following a Single Bout of Strenuous Exercise on Athletic Performance in Physically Active Participants. [Online] Available at:https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40279-022-01644-9