For most people, the thought of showering evokes pleasant sensations. This iconic and pleasant image will disappear immediately if we add the detail that the shower in question is with cold water.
However, a lot of people intentionally shower with cold water in the morning, which clears them and prepares them for the day. This is because, as most people already know, contact with cold water has many advantages for our body. In this article we are going to talk precisely about this fact: about the benefits of taking a cold shower , and why this habit should be incorporated into our routines.
14 benefits of taking a cold shower
Despite the fact that it is a stimulation that is in principle aversive for a large majority of people, taking a shower with cold water has a series of advantages and positive effects on our organism and our psyche. Some of these benefits can be observed directly after a sporadic contact with cold water, but other benefits will be less visible unless there is a habit or a certain regularity .
1. Clears and activates mind and body
The main effect we see directly when we take a cold shower is the fact that activates and clears us . The thermal receptors and neurons located in the skin are activated to send an alert message to the rest of the system, generating a response by the organism in the form of generalised activation against the cold. This is a natural reaction to the body’s need to maintain homeostasis or internal balance at the temperature level.
2. Improves circulation
Exposure to cold water has positive repercussions at a cardiovascular level: in the face of the cold our heart rate increases and our blood vessels contract. The blood travels at high speed and loaded with oxygen to the major organs and muscles, improving circulation to these areas. In this sense it is advisable to alternate between cold showers and others with hot water (which would make the blood go more easily to the surface of the skin).
However, great caution should be exercised by people with any type of heart disease and cardiovascular disorder, as the contraction of blood vessels and the acceleration of the heart rate can be harmful to them.
3. Increases attention span
The activation of the nervous system is another benefit of taking a shower with cold water, which stimulates the secretion of certain neurotransmitters such as noradrenaline which makes us attentive and vigilant.
4. Improve your mood
Showering with cold water has relevant effects on the mood. The thermal shock with cold water stimulates the production of noradrenaline in the brain, which will ultimately generate a greater activation and a slight improvement in mood, relieving stress and anxiety . Other studies indicate that it also generates a decrease in the level of cortisol.
5. Increases oxygenation
When our body comes into contact with very cold water, we usually immediately start to speed up our breathing. This is linked to the previously mentioned cardiovascular alteration and acceleration. The body needs a greater amount of energy to cope with the cold, which implies accelerating the acquisition of oxygen. Thus, the oxygen levels in our body increase , as well as the rhythm with which the blood circulates through the body.
6. Accelerates metabolism
As indicated above, in the presence of cold our body will begin to demand energy in order to maintain the internal temperature at appropriate levels. To do this, it generates an acceleration of the metabolism, consuming the resources stored in the body. The consequence of this is that with the exposure to the cold we start to burn sugars and fats in order to maintain the body temperature at acceptable levels.
7. Activates the immune system
The generalized activation of the system and the acceleration of the metabolism generated by the water favors the activation and improvement of the immune system, which is better prepared to fight infections and external aggressions as it releases a greater quantity of leukocytes or white blood cells.
8. Improves libido and sperm quality and quantity
Fertility is another aspect that is influenced by taking a cold shower. The cold stimulates the secretion of testosterone , which in the long run has an effect on the libido and sexual responsiveness.
9. Disinflates and relieves pain
It is common that when we have a blow and we have some kind of inflammation, we use the cold to lower it (for example with an ice pack). This effect is due to the fact that the cells surrounding the injured area demand a lower amount of oxygen with the cold, reducing the swelling of the affected area . Showering with cold water has the same effect (although in this case the whole body is exposed to the cold). It also helps to relieve muscle aches or even headaches.
10. Improves sleep
Another benefit of taking a cold shower is found in sleep. Although the fact of submitting to a cold shower makes us clear, with the passage of the day facilitates that as we have stretched our body can relax. It has been seen that it facilitates the reconciliation of sleep and improves its quality .
11. Promotes better diuresis and kidney and lymph function
The kidneys and the lymphatic system also see their functioning improved with the cold, allowing a better expulsion of toxic elements and waste from our body.
12. Increases productivity
The benefits of showering with cold water in the morning, taking into account the effects described above, also include an increase in the level of mental activity that the person will be able to perform and an increase in their productivity.
13. Benefits in skin and hair
People who shower excessively often lose the natural protection that coats and protects the skin in the form of oil, especially if they shower in hot water. In the long run, it can dry out skin and hair. Cold water, on the other hand, does not generate this loss of skin fat and also allows the skin to be toned by stretching it . It also prevents hair loss and gives it a greater shine.
14. Strengthens self-esteem and sense of self-control
As we have said, most people find cold water more or less aversive. That is why the fact of taking a shower with cold water can be experienced as a small challenge to overcome , which ultimately generates a greater sense of self-control, self-efficacy and self-esteem.