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The Health Benefits of Cold Showers

Now I’m the first to admit that a hot shower can perhaps be the highlight of my day, particularly in the cold winter months.

It’s a great place to think, relax or just sit down and pretend it’s raining.

However, here I am trying to convince you to take the plunge and join the Cold Club. Why?

How did I get started?

I was listening to a Ben Greenfield podcast and his assistant was preaching about the 21 day Cold Shower Challenge (21 days in a row of cold showers), so I thought I’d give it a try.

After FIVE DAYS I was hooked.

The Benefits

  • The first benefit I experienced was raised alertness for the rest of the day. The Science behind that is the ‘shock’ of cold increases breathing and heart rate, pumping more blood round your body.
  • It’s also a huge time saver, when i’m late to work it’s nearly always from dwelling in a hot shower – something that happens far less when it’s ice cold!
  • If I do it after the gym I find that I have reduced muscle soreness and it also speeds up recovery, by controlling inflammation in the muscles.
  • It’s also better for skin and hair, even if you start hot and finish cold. By getting out a hot shower you’re leaving your poresĀ wide open for all the grime in the outside world to get in.
  • The increased blood flow also boosts immunity, eases stress and relieves depression, the Science of which is here and here.
  • Finally, it can stimulate weight loss, with this study showing that cold water increases our healthy ‘brown fat’ by up to 1500%, giving you the potential to lose 1lb every six weeks.
health benefits of cold showers

Willing to give it a go? Here’s how to get started

Temperature Check

It’s cold enough when you put your face under the shower head and come back out again with a sharp intake of breath. That’s a sign you’re taking in more air!

Ease Into It

Start at room temperature, and drop the water temperature every 10 seconds until you’re there.

Get Moving, Get Breathing

Part of the benefit is from increased circulation and air intake, so help the process along by keeping moving and trying to breathe a little faster and deeper than usual.

Four Minutes Or Less

This isn’t an endurance event, in four minutes you should be ready to face the day.

Still Like It Hot? Try A James Bond Ending

In Ian Fleming’s books he details what are now known as “James Bond Showers”. Take your normal warm shower, then drop the temperature for a two-minute Cold Finish. This is even more beneficial for your skin, as your pores have opened in the heat in order to be cleansed, and are closed by the cold water before you get out.

What are you waiting for? Pick a morning and get started!