6 Reasons To Take A Cold Shower
For centuries, Scandinavian cultures have extolled the benefits of cold-water dips, usually as a wake-up for the body after time spent in a sauna or steam room. More recently, the popularity of all-year-round sea bathing and wild swimming has brought the pleasures of immersing the body in cold water to our attention in the UK. And now, even more of us are discovering that a cold morning shower – or a hot shower with a few seconds of cold-water immersion at the end – can offer a similar boost to both mind and body.
Here are some of the benefits:
1 Stay Alert
We all know that cold water helps to wake you up. But people who shower or swim in cold water regularly report that the increased alertness they experience can last all day – or even longer. An explanation could be that immersion in cold water raises our heart rate and encourages us to take deep breaths, a habit we unconsciously repeat when the experience is over, increasing our oxygen levels and boosting concentration. It is also likely that forcing ourselves to endure cold water strengthens our willpower, enabling us to operate more effectively and concentrate more fully in life beyond the bathroom or beach.
2 Keep Calm
Taking a cold shower imposes a small level of stress on the body, as a result of which it learns to manage stress, adapt to harsher conditions and gradually becomes hardened – in much the same way as our stamina and strength increase as we gradually boost our exercise levels. People who regularly shower or swim in cold water report that as their nervous systems grow more used to handling moderate stress they are able to remain calmer – whether facing long-term pressure or in response to unexpected crises.
3 Healthy Hair and Skin
Cold water restricts blood flow and tightens the pores, giving our skin a healthy glow. And unlike hot water, it doesn’t dry out or damage the sebum layer, the lubricated barrier that protects our skin and hair. Immersion in cold water also improves the circulation by speeding up the delivery of warm blood to the surface, again improving the health and look of our skin. Several of Noble Isle’s gloriously scented bath and shower gels have ingredients that tone as well as soothe the skin – check out our Rhubarb Rhubarb! and Summer Rising collections in particular for an invigorating shower experience.
4 Increased Wellbeing
Cold water sends electrical impulses to our brains, jolting our system awake and increasing our levels of alertness, energy and clarity of thought. At the same time, the shock triggers the release of endorphins or happiness hormones. As a consequence, regular cold-water swimmers and showerers have reported increased feelings of wellbeing and optimism that last for days after the initial plunge.
5 Heal Faster
Athletes have long known the benefits of applying ice packs to reduce inflammation and help bruising or muscle injuries to heal more quickly. By bringing the temperature of an area of the body down, we encourage the delivery of warmer, freshly oxygenated blood to that area, speeding up recovery. The shock of cold water also stimulates the white blood cells that fight off disease, so a cold shower can boost our resistance or help us to recover more quickly from common illnesses such as colds or flu.
6 Improved Metabolism
Immersing our bodies in cold water means they have to work harder to maintain a stable temperature, stimulating the generation of the brown fat that helps us to burn calories. While cold showers alone won’t lead to weight loss, their capacity to boost our metabolism can help, as well as improving our digestive system overall.
How To Start?
Research has indicated that as little as 30 seconds of cold-water immersion can have valuable effects. But as with most habits, the ideal way to start is by easing gently into your new routine. Begin by slowly lowering the temperature at the end of your shower until you feel slightly uncomfortable and then staying there for up to a minute, breathing deeply. Keep lowering the temperature more each time until it is similar to water from the cold tap.
People who take regular cold-water showers report that the experience quickly becomes stimulating and enjoyable rather than painful. And to boost your pleasure, why not explore our Bath & Shower Gel range to give you new scents to focus on and enjoy with each deep breath?