Are you brave enough to swap your morning hot shower for a cold, bracing one? There are lots of little-known health benefits to taking cold showers, so read on before you dismiss the idea. Cold showers can boost your mood, improve your skin, hair, and circulation, and strengthen your immune system — plus, a cold shower will wake you up fast. Here are five of the best reasons to work up your nerve and take the cold-water plunge.
You’ll be more alert throughout the day
A hot shower might wake you up and clear the fuzziness from your head in the morning, but a cold shower will do that even better. Going straight from the cozy haven of your bed to a cold shower jolts your system, getting your blood pumping and making you breathe deeply to keep your body warm. The extra oxygen and circulatory boost get you alert and ready for action first thing, and your morning dose of cold can even leave you feeling more energized throughout the rest of the day. All this before you’ve even had your coffee.
Cold water is good for skin and hair
A hot shower might feel great, but it’s not so great for your skin. Hot water dries out your skin by stripping away your body’s natural oils, which can induce your skin to produce excess oil over time. A steamy shower opens up your pores too, so any chemicals that are in your bath products can get into your skin and potentially cause irritation. Cold water has the opposite effect: it closes and tightens your pores and preserves the natural oils that your skin produces, which can lead to healthier skin and less acne in the long run. Some people swear by cold showers as a way to keep skin looking young, tight, and healthy. Cold water is just as good for your hair as it is for your skin; it’s less drying and damaging than hot water, and it keeps your follicles flat, making your hair look sleeker and shinier.
Cold showers make you less vulnerable to stress and depression
Stepping into a cool shower might not be the most enjoyable part of the day, but a regular dose of cold water can work wonders for your mood in the long run. By exposing your body to the stress of a cold shower, you build up your mental discipline and become more resistant to uncomfortable sensations. It’s not uncommon to even start enjoying the feeling of the cold water after you’ve been taking cold showers for a while. This resilience carries over into other areas of your life, making you calmer, more collected, and less likely to be bothered by annoyances and stressors. Cold water has also been shown to stimulate noradrenaline production, which is linked with relieving depression.
Cold showers improve your circulation
A shock of cold water kicks your circulatory system into gear. To maximize your circulatory workout, alternate between cold water, which sends blood to your organs to keep them warm, and hot water, which brings blood to the surface of your skin. Not only is this good for your heart and your skin, but it can also help your body regulate your temperature the rest of the time. In other words, taking cold showers during the winter can help keep you warm all day long.
You won’t get sick as often
Cold showers don’t just toughen up your mind; they toughen you up physically too. The blood-pumping, metabolism-revving properties of cold showers provide the additional benefit of strengthening your immune system. People who regularly take cold showers have been shown to have higher white blood cell counts than people who don’t, which equates to a better ability to fight off sickness.
Taking regular cold showers might sound crazy, but it isn’t. After all, people have bathed in cold water for thousands of years. Having hot water on demand is a relatively modern luxury. If you’re the type who likes a challenge, try foregoing hot water for a while, and see how cold showers make you feel. After a week or two, you might even find that you enjoy them!