Cold showers?? Hmmm…
I cannot lie – they are not my favourite thing to have. Far from it! I certainly don’t enjoy them like the man in the picture above. As a natural lover of hot showers, sometimes I find the whole experience absolutely traumatic. My doom feeling (normally reserved for athletics and other sports!) envelopes me before I switch the appliance on. I can run the cold shower for minutes at a time, afraid to dip even a toe into the ice cold water. And that water is only getting colder as we approach winter.
Before I started this ritual of sorts (it’s been four months now!), the only other time I would be forced to contemplate such a thing was if my boiler broke down and there was no hot water readily flowing from the taps. But even then, I would opt to spend ages boiling lots of water to prevent enduring such hell.
The first time that I summoned up the strength to have a cold shower was a baptism of ice!! It was a complete shock to the system and it was hard to catch my breath – it was like I had been viciously punched in the chest, the impact of it forcefully knocking the air out of my lungs. My whole experience was spent shrieking (when I could breathe) and darting in and out of the flow of brain numbing water like a crazy flitting moth – it was a wonder I didn’t slip and hurt myself! (I must admit, I still do this, but the extent reduces slightly each week.) Occasionally I might cheat and treat myself to a lukewarm shower, however, this is very rare.
There’s no way I would put myself through torture if there wasn’t a benefit. And there is more than one benefit to this cold shower madness (I have to remind myself of it each time I’m about to have one, like a mantra). You know what they say: no gain without a little (or in my case, much) pain! 🙂
Cold showers can:
- aid in weight loss;
- help with muscle recovery;
- help combat depression;
- strengthen your immune system;
- improve your circulation; and
- increase your tolerance threshold for stress
among other things. Below are three of my favourite amazing benefits of suffering through cold showers, which makes the discomfort definitely worthwhile…
1. They make you more alert
Having a cold shower in the morning has been more effective than any alarm clock when it comes to waking me up!! If you are feeling groggy and in a sleep like trance, going through the motions like a pitiful zombie from the Walking Dead, a cold shower soon rectifies this. You’ll be alert for hours afterwards also with high energy. You’ll be ready and raring to tackle whatever the day throws at you!
2. They increase your willpower
Cold showers give you a mental toughness. If you can put yourself through that torture, especially at the beginning of the day, you can surely do anything. Some people say the cold shower becomes a habit and you get used to it. Since I have been doing this for well over 21 days (the amount of time generally needed for something to become a habit) you’d think I should be at this stage by now.
Unfortunately I do not fall into this category at all! Each day I summon the strength, to purify myself that icy liquid is a renewal of my willpower and discipline. And it makes me feel like I can conquer the world! 🙂
3. They are beneficial for your hair and skin
Hot water dries out your skin. I know this from experience. I would often spend at least 20 minutes in a hot shower only to be really upset when I compromised my natural skin barrier, leading to my skin drying out enough to suffer another miserable bout of eczema and dermatitis.
Cold water prevents the natural oils from being stripped from your skin and tightens your pores. It also makes your hair appear healthier, stronger and shinier.
Cold water showers are not for everyone but the gains well exceed the grief enduring them. If you are able to (if you don’t have a medical condition preventing you from doing so etc.) then give them a go! You don’t even have to start on a fully cold setting – you could begin on lukewarm and gradually set the dial to a colder setting over a course of days or weeks.
Are you up for the challenge? If so, let me know how you get on and any other amazing benefits you have discovered! 🙂
Picture by GraphicStock
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