Virgin Active blog
Should I take cold showers?
Warm showers let the day sidle up to you with warm coffee and dippy eggs.
Cold showers are different. They jolt you awake, don’t hold the lift for you and then give you the finger as they drive away on the bus you just missed as you wonder what just happened.
Underneath all this unpleasantness, however, research shows that cold showers are boosting your metabolic rate, improving your cardiovascular health and upgrading your mental state.
So when it was decided that someone should look into the accuracy of these (“you’re this kind of thing aren’t you?”) we thought we'd give it a try.
The first time is always going to be grim.
The second is then altogether different. Within seconds of stepping under the frigid downpour, it becomes worth it, especially first thing in the morning.
The moment of clarity comes to almost anyone in that sudden chill. A huge dose of the hormone norepinephrine floods the body and you start feeling very calm. It’s difficult to focus on anything else!
Getting straight in there helps us to feel more alert afterwards.
Research from the Journal of Medical Hypotheses has found some pretty convincing stuff on this link between a sudden switch to cold and improved mental state. The overwhelming amount of electrical impulses trigger an analgesic effect that lasts longer with continued chilly-dipping.
In fact, cold showers might just fight and prevent depression – harking back to a primeval day when a cold dip reset our biological rhythms.
Ice in your veins
The ice induced upgrade flows through the rest of your body. In order to maintain temperature, the body gives the sympathetic nervous system gets a . Blood flow increases and so does the efficiency of the cardiovascular system.
A study in Plos One showed that 90 days of cold showers bolstered the immune system and circulation, decreasing sick days by 29%.
Try starting with the temperature just below normal and turning the heat down incrementally. Either first thing in the morning or after a workout is best.
If you’re not convinced and want some tangible benefits from something so dam unpleasant, a 2009 study showed that cold showers might help to burn up to 400 more calories a day. The process of adaptive thermogenesis, basically an unregistered shivering, gets your metabolism really motoring as your body fights to keep warm.
Call it a fad, call it a revolution....we give it a thumbs up.