Health hoaxes—they’re everywhere, and they’ve been around forever. Some of the older ones we tend to refer to as “old wives’ tales,” while others, though disproven, still seem to mesmerize a ton of people into trying them.
When a new health craze comes into existence, I’m always a little bit skeptical—interested, but skeptical. I try to make sure and do as much research before I try anything new, which is what led me to do some research on the cold shower craze.
Cold showers have been around for a long time. Ice swimming, ice baths, and cold showers have been popular for decades, and have led to events like the Polar Bear Plunge. Events like these are used to raise money for charity, but many people still claim that they like to take a cold plunge on a regular basis because it improves their health.
And health advocates are backing up their claims. More and more health gurus are saying to start your day with warm lemon water, dry skin brushing, and a cold shower. I can’t agree more with the warm lemon water suggestion, but I didn’t know much about the cold shower phenomenon. What I’ve recently learned has impressed me, so I thought the best thing to do (before I jump into my cold shower) is let you in on some of the top cold shower benefits.
Cold Shower Benefits: 5 Reasons You Should Try a Cold Shower Challenge
There are many cold shower benefits. Here are just a few.
1. A Cold Shower Can Help You Burn Fat
According to LifeHack.org, Scandinavian researchers have found that there is a good type of fat in our bodies that keep us warm. When we take a cold shower, the good fat is activated; it warms up in an effort to keep us warm. What does this accomplish? It revs up our metabolism, helps burn calories and the bad fat that doesn’t serve any purpose except to add extra pounds.
2. Reduce Stress, Tension, and Anxiety with Cold Showers
Some studies suggest that cold water affects the neurotransmitters in our brain. In essence, our brain is being told to relax and let go of tension. According to the same Health Journal, a cold swim or shower can also improve a person’s mood and their memory.
3. You Will Definitely Have an Energy Boost
Obviously, when that cold water first hits your skin, you will have a little bit of an energy boost. That’s obvious by the way we all tend to jump around the shower whenever the water starts getting cold, especially first thing in the morning. What a way to wake up! In all seriousness, though, according to FastCompany.com, scientists have found that one cold shower benefit is that we can experience sustained energy when we regularly incorporate this health tool into our lives.
4. Reduce Post-Workout Soreness
HowStuffWorks.com had some extremely interesting information about cold showers that made me want to jump into one right away. As a former pro-athlete, this information totally made sense. According to researchers, cold water forces blood away from your extremities, which means there is less of a chance for lactic acid to settle into your muscles and cause post-workout soreness. In addition, the cold temperatures can prevent tissue damage and swelling, which means you’ll recover more quickly from an awesome workout.
5. Get Beautiful Skin and Hair with Cold Shower Treatment
Because cold water closes the cuticle of the hair shaft, hair will appear shinier and healthier after it’s been rinsed with cold water. Skin will look better too because it helps close the pores and smoothes the skin, making it soft and less prone to breakouts.
What Is The Two-Week Cold Shower Challenge?
A cold shower challenge can range from one day, two weeks, twenty-one days, or a full thirty days. Some of these challenges are simply to promote the health benefits of cold shower treatments, while others are used as a way to raise money for charity.
Sophie Kreitzberg, of Refinery29.com, just posted her experience during a thirty day challenge just last month. You can check out her slide show that details the week-by-week experience. Her goal was to see what all of the hype was about and see if she could really improve her health.
Ben Greenfield, a New York Times bestseller and health guru, did a twenty-one day challenge, both to raise money for The Brain Trauma Foundation and to boost his health.
The goal is to remain under cold, running water for about five minutes—as cold as you can stand it. Some people end their regular shower with five minutes under cold water, while others simply substitute the cold shower for their regular warm-hot shower. Still others decide to alternate cold and hot water; one minute of hot water, one minute of cold.
I say: do whatever works best for you. There’s no need to make this complicated or more time consuming than necessary, right?
To help folks out with the cold shower challenge, Joel Runyon, a guy who loves to help people achieve the “impossible,” has provided his readers with a Cold Shower Therapy Guide and app. How’s that for simplifying a challenge? I like this guy!
With These Cold Shower Benefits, Will You Take Part In The Challenge?
The benefits of cold showers are pretty impressive. Adding a cold shower or two to your health routine, along with eating more greens, is a sure way to boost your health. You may decide to give the two week or thirty day cold shower challenge a try, or you may just try slowly adding cold showers into your routine. Whatever you decide to do, I suggest at least giving them a try and seeing if you, too, will notice a difference in your health and energy.
Have you tried cold showers for your health? What kind of benefits did you experience? Are you willing to try one of the cold shower challenges? Let me know in the comments below or on Facebook.