Most of us prefer to wake up with a hot shower, or unwind with one in the evenings. Certainly, most people would not opt into taking a cold shower––the thought is quite jarring for most people and seems quite uncomfortable.
However, cold plunges have been part of societies for millennia, and even today, many athletes are seen icing down in a tub of ice after a performance. There is actually some evidence that exposure to cold water might have some serious benefits, to the extent we should all consider adding in a cold shower to our regimen once in a while.
Cold Showers Increase Alertness
Have a hard time waking up in the morning? A cold shower has been shown to increase alertness. A jolt of cold temporarily increases heart rate, and oxygen intake, helping facilitate alertness.
Cold Showers Increase Circulation
As cold water hits your skin, circulation near the surface of your body constricts, causing blood to flow faster in deeper tissues. Cold showers are shown to lower inflammation, blood pressure, and other markers for cardiovascular disease. The benefits to heart health are one of the primary reasons why many are interested in cold exposures.
Cold Showers Might Help Reduce Muscle Soreness
Now you know why athletes soak in ice baths following a work out; cold showers can help reduce muscle soreness, particularly after a workout.
Cold Showers Might Benefit Weight Loss
Cold exposure increases metabolic rate directly. Exposure to cold also stimulates the formation of brown fat, a certain kind of fat tissue that generates energy by burning calories.
Benefits for Immune System
Some research indicates that exposure to cold my stimulate the immune system to produce more white blood cells. This increase in immune function might be related to increase in metabolic rate.
Cold Showers Might Ultimately Reduce Stress
Cold exerts a small stress on the body, which in turn facilities a process called hardening. This is a process by which your nervous system gets used to handling small amounts of stress with ease, making other stressors easier to deal with and ultimately less stressful.
Cold Showers Might Be Beneficial for the Skin
The constriction of skin that results when exposed to cold might give your skin a more taught, and glowing appearance. Most of this is anecdotal but given the vasoconstriction on the surface of the body, cold showers might be useful for giving more youthful appearing skin.