Taking a cold shower may be one of the last things you want to do this time of the year – but turning down the heat can have major health and beauty benefits. Even 30 seconds of showering in cold water can do it. To me, the benefits outweigh the slight discomfort – and it’s not as bad as it sounds! Scalding hot showers actually dry out and irritate the skin; we should be taking warm showers at best. (This is an easy but effective skincare tip I live by as the weather starts to get colder and drier this time of year). A cold rinse at the end of your shower calms any stress the hot water might have caused. Here are 4 benefits of cold showers.
Wakes you up
Ending your morning shower with a 30-second cold rinse can help wake you up and boost your mood. Cold showers activate the sympathetic nervous system, which increases neurotransmitters such as endorphins (the same ones you get from exercise and laughing!). Your body also experiences a bit of shock when it’s hit with cold water, and this shock increases oxygen intake, heart rate, alertness and metabolism.
Exposure to cold water constricts circulation on the surface of your body. This causes blood in your deeper tissues to circulate faster to maintain ideal body temperature. (You’re also burning more calories as your body works harder to maintain a stable temperature!)
Boosts immune function
Cold water can also help boost immunity and prevent illness. In addition to increasing circulation, cold water also promotes lymphatic drainage, which plays a major part in our overall health. Contact with cold water causes the lymph vessels to contract, forcing your lymphatic system to pump lymph fluids throughout your body and flush any toxins out.
Reduces muscle soreness
Cold water has regenerative properties, so taking that 30-second rinse after a high-intensity workout can help repair and relax your muscles and reduce inflammation. (This is called cryotherapy!)
Promotes healthy hair and glowing skin
Our scalps love cold water. Washing your hair with hot water strips away the natural oils and moisture from your hair, which can leave your scalp itchy and flaky and your hair frizzy and static. Cold water seals the moisture in your hair and produces a little extra shine to your hair!
Cold water also tightens and constricts the blood flow which gives your skin that healthy glow we all love. While pores don’t actually open and close, the cold water makes them slightly contract, giving your skin a smoother, tighter appearance.
To ease myself into cold showers, I’ll turn the water cold, step back and wait for the temperature to drop. I’ll start by testing it with a foot or hand, then one leg and arm at a time before I’m fully immersed. Once you get used to it and notice the benefits, I’m sure you’ll be ending your showers like this too!
Would you ever start your days with a cold shower? Let me know if you would add at least a 30-second rinse to your morning routine!