7 Benefits of Taking Cold Showers
It's winter and one thing we need a lot of during this time is heat. Whether we're cranking the furnace, baking warm goods, using a portable heater, or taking hot baths, we're using more heat now than we will during the rest of the year. Every day of the year, however, we rely on one thing in particular to be heated-our shower.
A hot shower is a daily luxury that is easily taken for granted. Most of us wouldn't even consider that we could be taking our shower in the wrong way, or at least at the wrong temperature. What if you knew that taking a cold shower had more benefits than taking a hot shower? Would you believe it? Would you try it?
Although January is coming to an end, it's important not to throw personal self-improvement resolutions out the window. With energy and willpower, 2017 will be your best year yet (cold showers happen to help with exactly those things).
If you want to be a better you, maybe the first step is just taking this unconventional, but advantageous plunge.
Benefits of Taking Cold Showers
Below are 7 ways to improve your overall health, happiness, and water heating bills this winter and all year round.
1. Stress Repellent
Instead of holding onto stress, embrace the cold! Cold showers are proven to have positive effects on your health and wellbeing. One of these ways is that cold showers reduce stress. In fact, cold showers train your nervous system to over time become resistant to high stress.
When you enter a cold shower feeling emotionally rattled or frazzled, your body's attention is shifted away from your temperament to the temperature. Almost immediately you will need to break away from your stress spiral to focus solely on your breathing and you need to be super present to do that.
The more present you are, and the more calmly you are breathing, the better you are going to feel. Many people who take cold showers as a part of their lifestyle report that the cold helps them to attain a Zen-like focus. Once you've iced your bad mood, you'll be ready to chill out the rest of the day.
2. Build Willpower
At some point or another we've all thought, "yeah, that's a great idea, but it sounds too hard." If you feel as though you are lacking mental strength or discipline, taking cold showers may be your answer. Let's face it, taking a cold shower sounds like a punishment. Why would someone do it on purpose? If it's too difficult, I don't want to try it. This is exactly the mindset people are seeking to break.
Sometimes in life we need to persevere through things that seem difficult from the outside, but once we take the plunge, we're better off for having done so. If you can mentally tackle a cold shower every morning, whatever else the world throws at you should be easier to navigate.
3. Increase Oxygen
As already mentioned, it takes deep and focused breathing to get through a cold shower. And this isn't a surprise; if you've ever had ice dumped over your head or jumped into a cold lake, you know that your heart starts racing and your arms start flapping in panic. You might even scream!
There's no need to be scared. Practicing your breathing in the cold shower is the best thing we can do for our brains in the morning before heading to high-stress and high-productivity environments like work.
Breathing in a cold shower increases your oxygen intake and heart rate. You'll enjoy the energy this gives you throughout the day. It takes a lot of energy to be stressed and tired; that negativity will wear you out! Instead stop the zombie with a cold shower and deep breathing every morning.
4. Stay Youthful
Cold showers are one way to improve both your skin and your hair. According to dermatologists, ice-cold water prevents our skin from losing too many natural oils. Natural oils keep skin youthful. Hot water strips our skin of our natural oils, which is why if you stay in the hot shower for too long your skin might tend to get itchy.
Your hair will get shinier, stronger and healthier. Cold water keeps your hair follicles flat, increasing their grip to your scalp. Meaning your hair will be less likely to fall out and it will grow stronger. If you're worried about losing your hair, wash it with cold water!
Cold water also promotes fat loss by activating the 'brown fat' in your body that works overtime to burn calories and keep your body warm. Many people have written about how ice baths and cold showers helped them kick their diet into high gear. Cold showers don't just help your health on the inside, but on the outside as well.
5. Improve Immunity
Not only does taking a cold shower combat stress and depression, but it also helps you fight off illness. Cold showers increase the amount of white blood cells in your body. People that take cold showers are shown to have more white blood cells in their body than people who only take hot showers. White blood cells fight disease and boost your immune system. Who knew cold showers could do so much for your health and happiness?
6. Good Night's Sleep
This may seem against what you were told when you were growing up, but a cold shower is a great way to get your body ready for bed. Although a cold shower in the morning is sure to wake you up, a cold shower at night is sure to put you to sleep. Take a 5-10 minute ice bath or cold shower and see how many hours you can snooze.
7. Reduce Water & Energy Bill
By taking cold showers, you'll be using less water and less heat. Your water and energy bill will reduce while your self-empowerment will increase. Seems like a beneficial tradeoff.
If you're thinking right now that it's too cold outside for this type of challenge, we don't blame you! If you aren't looking for ways to save money on your bills this winter, then save this challenge for the summertime. Most people that jump into a cold shower challenge end up taking cold showers all year round! But when you begin, is up to you!
Ease your way in
The brave souls who have written about their experience taking the 30-Day Cold Shower Challenge, mention easing their way into the act. For example, start your first shower at a 25% hot/75% cold ratio. When you get in, focus on your breathing and try not to freak out. You really are OK. You might only last a couple minutes, but hey, look on the bright side - you're already saving money on your water bill.
In the days to come, reduce the hot water until you're at 0%hot/100%cold. This is when you know your endurance has hit its stride.
If you're interested in the health benefits listed above, but don't think that daily cold showers are something you're interested in, there is still a way for you to challenge and refresh yourself. One thing you can try is throwing in short bursts of cold water during your hot shower. This will give you a pick-me-up. A little cold water goes a long way to helping you become more adaptive and alert.
If you're looking for a way to improve your alertness and energy, while also saving money on your water and heat bill, consider the 30-day Cold Shower Challenge!
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