You can be on Entrepreneur’s cover!

People Who Take Cold Showers Take Fewer Sick Days, Study Finds When you're really cold, your body's auto-response is to warm itself up.

By Lydia Belanger

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

ThamKC | Getty Images

We've all been there -- we think the water in the shower is too hot, so we turn it down a hair, only to realize, no way, that's too cold! But if even a moment of lukewarm water is uncomfortable, imagine subjecting yourself to an ice-cold shower on purpose.

A group of 3,000 Dutch study participants voluntary concluded their daily showers with 30-, 60- or 90-second blasts of chilly water for 30 consecutive days. Researcher Geert A. Buijze compared their reactions and lifestyles throughout the experiment to a control group. He found that participants who took a cold shower for any of the three durations above took 29 percent fewer sick days off from work during the 30-day period.

Related: How This Showering Trick Can Make You More Energized for the Workday

Cold water didn't exempt them from illness, however. Participants who took cold showers reported feeling sick for the same average number of days as those who stuck to a comfortable water temperature.

The difference was, those who took cold showers (roughly 50 degrees Fahrenheit) experienced more mild symptoms and had more energy, which allowed them to power through work days rather than stay in bed. (Buijze says going to work when you feel a bit crummy is all fine and good as long as you wash your hands, cover your mouth when you cough, etc.)

Buijze laid out some possible explanations for the results in an interview with Harvard Business Review. He noted that people shiver when exposed to cold, which is the body's way of trying to warm itself up. From there, the body secretes hormones such as cortisol (nicknamed "the stress hormone"), which kick the fight-or-flight response into gear. When that wears off, relaxation sets in. Buijze also described a connection between "brown fat" (good fat) and cold temperatures. When brown fat is "activated," it burns calories, which warms up the body.

Related: Amazon Germany Wants Workers to Use Fewer Sick Days to Get a Better Bonus

He was inspired to do the research by mounting anecdotal evidence about the benefits of ice baths. Hippocrates, "the father of medicine," prescribed them. Spas and remedial care feature them even today.

None of Buijze's volunteers -- all healthy adults -- took cold showers prior to the study, but two-thirds of them continued the practice after the 30 days.

For the brave who aspire to be healthy and present at work, there's more you can do: Buijze found that participants who took a cold shower for 30 to 90 seconds each day and engaged in regular physical exercise took 54 percent fewer sick days than those who did neither.

Related video: Win the Day With Tim Ferriss's Morning Routine

Lydia Belanger is a former associate editor at Entrepreneur. Follow her on Twitter: @LydiaBelanger.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Side Hustle

This Dad Started a Side Hustle to Save for His Daughter's College Fund — Then It Earned $1 Million and Caught Apple's Attention

In 2015, Greg Kerr, now owner of Alchemy Merch, was working as musician when he noticed a lucrative opportunity.

Business News

I Designed My Dream Home For Free With an AI Architect — Here's How It Works

The AI architect, Vitruvius, created three designs in minutes, complete with floor plans and pictures of the inside and outside of the house.

Business News

This Fan-Favorite Masters 2024 Item Is Still $1.50 as Tournament Menu Appears Unscathed by Inflation

The pimento cheese sandwich is a tradition almost as big as the tournament itself.

Business News

Disney World, Disneyland Will Now 'Permanently' Ban Guests Who Tell This Lie to Skip Lines

The company rolled out changes to its Disability Access Services earlier this week.

Science & Technology

These Are the Top 6 AI Threats to Your Business Right Now

The modern workforce is forever changed by artificial intelligence. If you fail to understand that we will all need to learn AI to some degree, you haven't been paying attention.

Business News

Here's One Thing Americans Would Take a Pay Cut For — Besides Remote Work

An Empower survey found a high percentage of respondents would take a pay cut for better retirement benefits and remote work options.