If you’re someone who believes that a nice, hot, steamy shower is the only way to go, you might want to think again. Thanks to scientific research, it turns out that cold showers may be good for your health – especially if you’re physically active. Here are seven shocking benefits of cold showers that might just change how you feel about hot water.
#1 – Improved Alertness
When you first step into a cold shower, it’s a bit difficult to breathe. That cold water is a shock to the system, for sure. However, this is one of the most important benefits of cold showers. They force you to breathe more deeply, thus taking in more oxygen to fuel your brain. According to one study, the effect is as potent as two cups of coffee, but lasts much longer.
#2 – Better Skin and Hair Health
When you wash your hair and skin in warm or hot water, you’re stripping them of natural oils that keep them healthy. Showering in cold water will help retain some of those oils, even after shampooing. Along those same lines, cosmetologists often recommend at least rinsing your hair in cold water as it seals the follicles, which makes your hair shinier and more resilient.
#3 – Weight Loss
Taking cold showers activates certain types of fat cells designed to produce energy and burn calories to keep you warm. Three studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine back in 2009 proved that cold temperatures can increase the activation of these fat cells by as much as 15 times the normal amount. As a result, taking cold showers alone results in an average weight loss of nine pounds per year. This is one of the most unbelievable benefits of cold showers, but numerous studies have backed it.
#4 – Higher Testosterone Levels
A 1988 study published in the Journal of Reproductive Systems focused on the effects of RNA and DNA synthesis when the body is exposed to heat. Shockingly, it found that DNA and RNA cannot replicate as easily when exposed to warm temperatures. Another study published in Endocrinology in 1999 backs this claim. It showed that only 15 minutes in high temperatures significantly reduces the production of natural testosterone.
#6 – Improved Circulation
Great circulation is important for everyone, so whether you’re trying to lose weight, build muscle, or simple get healthy, this is one of the most important benefits of cold showers. When you expose your body to colder temperatures, it reacts by sending more blood to the organs and muscles to keep them warm. This means your muscles and organs get more oxygen and nutrients.
#7 – Speedier Muscle Recovery
The same 2009 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine that proved how cold showers can facilitate weight loss also showed that cold showers can improve muscle recovery. This is because cold temperatures tell the body to produce more glucose, RNA, and DNA, all of which play important roles in your post-workout recovery.
The benefits of cold showers are numerous, and whether you’re a bodybuilder, a fitness enthusiast, someone who wants to shed excess weight, or a person who just wants to be healthier, you should consider adding cold showers to your daily regimen. It’s free, and your body will thank you.