You may have heard about the benefits of cold showers recently. As of late, many popular figures like Tim Ferriss, Wim Hof, and Joe Rogan have been spreading the message about how awesome cold showers are.
Hearing other people praise cold showers might leave you wanting to try it for yourself, but skeptical if they can really be as great as people suggest.
It might seem like a lot of hype, but cold showers are actually really amazing. They offer so many fantastic benefits. When you step out of a cold shower, I can almost guarantee you’ll feel better and more alive than when you went in.
Unfortunately the thought of jumping out of a warm comfy bed and into an icy shower stops most people from ever giving it a try.
I hope that by the end of this article I’ll have given you enough positive reasons that you’ll be interested in trying out a cold shower for yourself.
The Benefits of Cold Showers
Cold Showers Increase Your Energy, Alertness, and General Well-Being
A cold shower will give you a spike of energy by increasing your oxygen intake and heart rate.
I dare you to try a cold shower and not step out feeling energized and reinvigorated! It’s a great way to get rid of that groggy morning feeling.
Nothing wakes me up faster or in a more extreme way than cold showers do. It honestly feels like getting the benefits of drinking a whole pot of coffee within that first second that you get under the water.
Not only that, but cold showers leave me feeling more motivated and focused for hours after I’ve dried myself off.
Cold Showers Build Strong Determination and Willpower
In a previous article, I discussed the stoic exercise of voluntary discomfort. Well trust me, perhaps nothing is a better example than jumping into a freezing cold shower.
Even people who love taking cold showers still have some hesitation around doing it every morning. For a normal person who has never tried it before, the hesitation you’ll feel is exponentially stronger.
But doing something you’re resisting every day will help build discipline and mental strength. You’ll quickly start to see that willpower carry over into other areas of your life too.
It’s not that terrible once you get in. Just do it!
Cold Showers Increase Endorphin Production and Can Reduce Depression
Endorphins are the feel-good hormones that your brain naturally produces. Taking a cold shower can cause your brain to release more endorphins, which increases feelings of optimism and well-being.
How does it work? The cold sensation sends electrical signals to your brain. You can think of a cold shower almost as a gentle form of electroshock therapy. Except that your body is the one jolting itself.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that 1 in 10 American adults is affected by depression. If you’re one of them, you might want to give cold showers a try, depending on the duration or severity of your symptoms. Taking a cold shower two or three times per week for up to five minutes has been shown in clinical trials to relieve some of the symptoms of depression.
Cold Showers Keep Your Hair and Skin Healthy
Hot water can damage your hair and dry out your skin. Having dry skin can cause irritating itching as well. But you can avoid drying out your skin and hair by turning down the temperature of your shower a bit. Your hair will look shinier too.
Cold Showers Help Improve Metabolism and Weight Loss
Professional swimmers like Michael Phelps can eat upwards of 8,000 calories per day without getting fat. How do they do it?
Of course, part of it is exercise. But you’d need to swim for more than 10 hours per day to burn off that many calories.
A bigger part of those calories are consumed just to try and stay warm. Being in cold water causes your core body temperature to drop. Your body compensates by burning calories or fat to try and stay warm.
Taking a cold shower will stimulate your body and produce the same response.
In addition, your body has two different types of fat in it. White fat is the kind you’d normally associate with someone who is overweight, and it’s what causes heart attacks. However, we’re all born with another type of fat called brown fat as well.
Brown fat plays an important part in health and wellbeing. White fat can be turned into brown fat by prolonged exposure to cold. Having additional brown fat will even keep you warmer in the winter because it produces heat better than white fat does.
You can’t just eat whatever you want and take cold showers to lose weight. But taking a cold shower will definitely give your metabolism a little boost and might help contribute to your weight loss.
Cold Showers Improve Circulation and Reduce Inflammation
Cold showers aren’t comfortable in the moment, but they make you feel better afterward. That’s at least partially because cold water makes your body work a bit harder to maintain its core temperature.
Over time, cold showers can strengthen your circulatory system and make it more efficient. Part of the reason people report better-looking skin after cold showers might be because of improved circulation.
For athletes, cold water can also help your body heal and recover after a heavy workout or sports injury.
Cold water helps the same way that applying ice does. It reduces inflammation in torn muscles or bruises. Reducing the temperature of the muscle helps speed up the amount of freshly oxygenated blood that’s delivered to the muscles as your body tries to warm itself up. That improves recovery time and helps your body remove lactic acid from your muscles (a waste product that muscles produce during exercise.)
Cold showers also reduce muscle soreness after a workout. Both because of the improved recovery time discussed above , and also because endorphins released during cold showers are your body’s natural painkillers.
Cold Showers Can Strengthen Your Immune System and Help Fight Off Common Illnesses
The feeling of shock that you get from a cold shower triggers your body to produce more white blood cells (also called leukocytes), which your body uses to fight off infections.
That means that cold showers can help you build up resistance to colds, the flu, and other common illnesses. A study from the Netherlands showed that people who take cold showers call into work sick less often. People who swim year-round have also been shown to have half as many chest infections as average people.
Cold Showers Boost Testosterone
Taking a cold shower will boost your strength and testosterone over time.
It’ll also increase your fertility. Sperm counts decrease if your body temperature is too high. In fact, taking a hot bath can actually be an effective contraception strategy.
A study by the University of California took men that were exposed to thirty minutes of wet heat a week (like hot baths) and then removed the heat exposure. Their sperm counts went up by over 400%!
Changing from a hot shower to a cold one probably won’t have that drastic of an impact, but it won’t hurt either!
Drawbacks of Cold Showers
Avoid if you have medical issues. If you have any heart issues or other medical conditions like high blood pressure or a fever, you shouldn’t try a cold shower without speaking to your doctor first. Similarly, people with long-term clinical depression shouldn’t use cold showers to replace their prescription medication without talking to their doctor first.
Soap doesn’t work the same. The biggest drawback that I’ve found from taking cold showers is that soap doesn’t work well in very cold water. It gets sticky and hard to wash off. For this reason, I usually clean myself off with a warm shower before making my shower cold.
You won’t want to go back to hot showers. I used to love my showers scalding hot. Now I can’t seem to go back to the same hot temperature that I used to. A nice hot shower before bed is good for relaxing, but in the morning it leaves me groggy.
How to Start Taking Cold Showers
Starting off by jumping right into a freezing cold shower is one way to go about it, but this is not for the faint of heart. You’ve spent the majority of your life taking hot showers, so suddenly switching to cold can be a big shock to your system.
Instead, I’d recommend you start by gradually lowering the temperature at the end of your regular shower. Make the water cold enough that you’re a bit uncomfortable, and try to stay under the water for at least a couple minutes. Taking deep breaths can help decrease the comfort.
Each shower, try making the water a little colder for the last couple of minutes. After you do this for a while, you might even start to look forward to turning down the temperature at the end of your shower.
Give It a Try!
I can’t emphasize enough how awesome a cold shower will make you feel. Hopefully I’ve given you enough reasons in this article to give it a try for yourself.
You will start to see the benefits right after your first cold shower, and it only continues to get better as you stick with it.
Have you tried cold showers? What was your experience?