CHILL OUT

Science-backed health ben­e­fits to show­er­ing in cold wa­ter.

Shape (Singapore) - - Contents -

While most of us would shud­der at the thought of show­er­ing in icy-cold wa­ter, these perks of skip­ping out on a warm, sooth­ing shower might just change your mind.

If you’re not ac­cus­tomed to bathing in cold tem­per­a­tures, you can start grad­u­ally with 10 sec­onds in the time you spend in the shower. As your body gets used to it, you can slowly start to bump it up to 20 and then 30 sec­onds be­fore hit­ting a full minute. Ideally, your goal is to have five min­utes of cold shower time.

How­ever, as such show­ers can shrink up your blood ves­sels if you have high blood pres­sure or a heart con­di­tion, do not at­tempt this be­fore con­sult­ing your doc­tor.

Here’s what you stand to gain.

1 In­creased alert­ness

The first re­ac­tion our body has to a cold shower would prob­a­bly be shock, but that sur­pris­ingly builds up warmth with our quick­ened breath­ing. Our heart rate will also in­crease along­side this, re­leas­ing a rush of blood through our sys­tem. This helps to awaken our senses, giv­ing a boost of energy for the rest of the day.

2 A health­ier weight

Our bod­ies con­tain two types of fat tis­sue – white fat and brown fat. White fat oc­curs when we con­sume more calo­ries than we ac­tu­ally need and they re­main in our body when we don’t burn them for energy. Brown fat is known as the good fat that keeps our bod­ies warm by gen­er­at­ing heat. A study in The New Eng­land Jour­nal Of Medicine found that cold tem­per­a­tures can ac­ti­vate and pro­mote brown-fat ac­tiv­ity, which helps to burn white fat at the same time.

3 Cleaner hair and skin

As calm­ing as hot wa­ter can be to our bod­ies, it tends to dry out our skin. On the other hand, cold wa­ter tight­ens our cu­ti­cles and pores as it con­stricts blood flow, which can then pre­vent them from get­ting clogged. This is the same, whether for the pores in your scalp or your skin.

4 Bet­ter im­mu­nity

Cold wa­ter im­proves blood cir­cu­la­tion, caus­ing ar­ter­ies to pump blood more ef­fi­ciently, ben­e­fit­ing our heart health. This, in turn, can lower blood pres­sure and help our im­mune sys­tem in the long run.

5 Faster mus­cle re­cov­ery

Just like how pro­fes­sional ath­letes take ice baths af­ter in­tense train­ing to soothe mus­cle sore­ness, a study was done by The Cochrane Li­brary, which found that cold-wa­ter baths were ef­fec­tive in re­liev­ing sore mus­cles af­ter ex­er­cises, as it re­duces in­flam­ma­tion where the mus­cles were strained.

6 A hap­pier mood

As in­tense and hor­ri­fy­ing cold show­ers might seem, they have been known to re­lieve de­pres­sion symp­toms due to a good amount of elec­tri­cal im­pulses caused from the pe­riph­eral nerve end­ings to the brain. This in­stantly boosts one’s mood – es­pe­cially per­fect for the morn­ings!

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