Four Ways Cold Showers Can Get Your Day Started Right
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No one usually jumps in a cold shower willingly. People who take cold showers are forced to do so either because they ran out of hot water, or they’re hardcore athletes who use ice-cold showers for muscle recovery. But, according to a meta-analysis of existing cold water immersion research in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, cold showers have many positive physiological effects on the body, which create a sense of exhilaration and alertness, therefore prompting a person to be more physically active during the day. Here are four ways a cold five-minute morning shower can turn your day around:
1. COLD SHOWERS IMPROVE YOUR CIRCULATION Contrast showers are especially great if you have a hard time getting up in the morning. Alternating between hot and cold water is a great way to help you fight off fatigue. The cold water increases the circulation in your body, which leads to a higher demand for oxygen. You automatically start breathing deeper– this fights off fatigue.
2. A NATURAL WAY TO BOOST YOUR MOOD Researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University found cold showers could fight off depression. They studied “adapted cold showers,” which consist of a five-minute gradual transition period of dropping water temperature, followed by two to three minutes of showering in 52-degree water. “A cold shower is expected to send an overwhelming amount of electrical impulses from peripheral nerve endings to the brain,” they wrote, “which could result in an anti-depressive effect.”
3. LESSER SICK DAYS Cold showers have very positive effects on one’s immune system. The cold and warm stimuli constrict and dilate your blood vessels, which speeds up your metabolism and strengthens your body’s natural defenses.
4. PROMOTE EMOTIONAL RESILIENCE According to a study performed in 1999, putting your body through oxidative stress by taking cold showers can help develop a nervous system that is resilient to stress. It was concluded that this adaptative response to repeated oxidative stress increases tolerance to environmental stress.
Now, remember that cold showers aren’t for everyone, especially if you have medical conditions. Make sure to consult with your doctor first, and if you’re given the green light, work cold showers into your morning routine- but gradually.