Taking freezing cold showers is probably the last thing most people want to think about when they wake up in the morning. But what if I told you that cold showers come with some serious benefits?
From boosting immunity to improving your mood, cold showers offer a host of benefits that you may not be aware of. This article offers some compelling scientific benefits of daily cold showers.
Here are five reasons why we recommend this powerful, ancient practice:
Improved circulation and detoxification:
Your circulatory system carries oxygen, nutrients, and hormones to cells, and removes products, like carbon dioxide.
When you immerse yourself in cold water, your circulation increases as your body works to keep your vital organs and your core warm by constricting blood vessels and increasing your heart rate. At the same time, there is decreased blood flow to the skin, so when the cold water stops there’s an increase in blood flow to the surface of the skin.
This increase in circulation can have a number of benefits, including improved heart health, brain function, sleep quality, and immunity.
Cold water immersion has also been shown to reduce inflammation and pain. Just a few minutes under the cold spray can have lasting benefits for your circulation and overall well-being!
One of the most well-known benefits of cold showers is their ability to boost immunity. When you’re cold, your body activates the immune system in order to generate heat, and this response is enhanced when you take cold showers.
Cold water immersion has been shown to increase the number of white blood cells, which are critical for fighting off infection.
One study from England found that taking daily cold showers increased the number of immune-boosting white blood cells. Researchers at the Thrombosis Research Institute suggested that as the body tries to warm up after a cold shower, the metabolic rate speeds up and activates the immune system, which leads to the release of white blood cells.
Additionally, exposure to cold water can increase the activity of natural killer cells, which are important in destroying cancer cells and viruses. Studies indicate (1) that cold showers may help increase the activity of natural killer cells and provide antitumor immunity.
Another benefit of cold showers is that they can help improve resilience. When we are exposed to cold temperatures, our body releases micro quantities of stress hormones such as cortisol, norepinephrine, and adrenaline.
Regular exposure to small amounts of these stress hormones helps build a tolerance to stress over time, making you more resilient in the face of stress and adversity.
Mood Improvement and Stress Reduction:
Research has shown that cold showers can help to reduce stress levels and improve your mood.
When we are stressed, our bodies release a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol is responsible for the ‘fight or flight’ response, which helps us to deal with dangerous situations.
However, cortisol can also have negative effects on our health, including increasing blood pressure and suppressing the immune system. Having chronically elevated cortisol levels in your body is like placing your foot on the gas pedal all the time – it takes a toll on your body!
Cold showers help to lower cortisol levels and reduce stress. In addition, cold water stimulates the release of endorphins, which are ‘happy hormones’ that can improve our mood and reduce feelings of depression.
Burn calories and lose weight:
When you expose your body to cold temperatures, it has to work harder to maintain its internal temperature. This process requires energy, which means that your body is burning calories.
A study found that cold-water immersion at 14℃ increased metabolism by 350%. Metabolism is a series of processes that control the storage and use of energy in your body.
Additionally, cold showers can help you to lose weight by stimulating the production of brown fat.
Brown fat is a type of fat that helps burn calories, and exposure to cold temperatures has been shown to increase its production.
Brown fat contains many more mitochondria than white fat. These mitochondria are the “engines” in brown fat that burn calories to produce heat.
Increased Testosterone production:
Studies indicate that cold showers may help increase testosterone production and improve sperm production in men.
Testosterone is produced in the testicles, so it stands to reason that anything that alters the temperature of the testicles could potentially impact testosterone production.
Prolonged exposure to heat can harm the functionality of the testicles. According to studies, in order to function properly, testicles need to be in lower-temperature areas.
That’s where cold showers come in. By exposing the testicles to cold water, you can actually improve your libido and overall health.
One study found that when testicular temperatures were kept between 88 and 99 degrees, DNA, RNA, and protein synthesis optimized, resulting in improved sperm production. Another team of researchers studied almost 6,500 samples of semen from a healthy, male population for over three years. Analyses of their findings revealed that the quality, motility, and volume of sperm substantially increased throughout the cooler months.
Optimum testosterone levels are associated with greater muscle mass and strength as well as improved mood and concentration. In addition, testosterone has been shown to improve heart health and cognitive function.
While more research is warranted, the existing studies reveal a correlation between lower temperatures and healthy sperm and testosterone production.
Is it good to take cold showers every day?
As shared above, there are plenty of reasons to take cold showers every day, and we’ve not even covered all of them in this article!
Cold showers have been proven to have a host of benefits for our health, including reduced stress, enhanced immunity, improved mood, increased testosterone production, and higher metabolism.
My favorite reason for having a daily cold shower is that it has helped me become more resilient in the midst of adversity. These ‘micro-discomforts’ that you voluntarily experience on a daily basis compound over a period of time to make you strong both inside and out.
How long should a cold shower last?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the length of a cold shower will vary depending on your experience level, individual preferences, and health goals.
If you’re new to cold showers, start small and aim for at least 30 seconds. In fact, starting with a warm shower and turning it cold towards the end is a good way to trick your brain into going beyond your comfort zone.
Once you get comfortable and used to the cold, gradually work your way up to 3-5 minutes.
So there you have it – five science-backed reasons why cold showers are great for you.
If you’re looking for a way to improve your circulation, boost your testosterone levels, fight off infection, reduce stress, or burn some extra calories, then I highly recommend you take cold showers!
Have you taken a cold shower before? Let us know in the comments below.
Author bio: Aditya Jaykumar Iyer (AJ) is a certified Breathwork instructor and the host & founder of My Seven Chakras with over 6.5 million downloads to date. Aditya has spent the last 8 years conducting interviews with over 500 of the foremost wellness experts and has documented his learnings & discoveries on his blog. You can connect with him on Instagram at @mysevenchakras