Cold shower vs hot shower. For everyone there’s a clear winner in this match-up. While some like it hot, in recent years the potential health benefits of cold showers have come more and more into the spotlight, building a strong case to turn the temperature towards the blue rather than the red.
The idea of stepping under an icy shower might not immediately appeal to you and may even be rather daunting at first thought (and feel), but the rewards are definitely worth considering.
Health Benefits of Cold Showers
Taking a cold shower can have quite the positive effect on your mind, as well as have a moderate effect on your physical wellbeing, if you do it a few times a week.
The Mental Benefits
You know that sensation when you’re flooded with a good feeling? That’s one thing that a cold shower can give you: the shock of cold water triggers the release of endorphins – the ‘feel-good’ hormones – and they help to alleviate symptoms of anxiety.
Being immersed quite suddenly in cold water can jolt your body awake, which leads to an increased alertness and mental clarity.
The Physical Benefits
Cold water causes blood vessels to constrict and then dilate, which can improve overall circulation, and better blood flow means better nutrient delivery to your cells and better removal of waste products.
Faster Muscle Recovery
You’ve probably seen athletes sitting in ice baths after their intense workouts, and there’s very good reason for this: cold water reduces muscle inflammation and soreness, and it can help speed up the recovery process.
Glowing Skin and Hair
Cold water closes pores, tightens the skin, and promotes a healthier complexion. It can also make your hair shinier by flattening the cuticles.
How to incorporate cold showers into your routine
Now that you know a bit more about the health benefits of cold showers, these icy downpours might be starting to sound quite good – especially if one of our mood-boosting, refreshing shower gels is involved.
You might even be thinking you want to give them a try. If you’re new to the experience though, it could be somewhat of a shock to the system, which is why we’ve put together a few practical pointers of taking a cold shower, to help ease you in.
Ideal Temperature for Cold Showers
How cold should a cold shower be? A good question, and the answer is this is quite subjective and can vary from person to person. Generally, cold water is considered to be between 10°C and 21°C. Here are some tips that should help you find the right temperature for your cold showers:
Begin with lukewarm water and gradually decrease the temperature over time to allow your body to get used to the cold.
Find the temperature that feels challenging but manageable for you. Some people prefer slightly warmer cold showers, while others enjoy the take-your-breath-away sensation of icy-cold water.
Keep in mind that you don't need to endure a full cold shower immediately. You can start by incorporating short bursts of cold water at the end of your regular shower and gradually increase the duration as you become more comfortable.
Best time of day for cold showers
The timing of your cold shower can also impact its effectiveness and your comfort. Here’s some things to consider:
Many people find that a cold shower in the morning helps wake them up and provides a burst of energy to start the day. It can also improve alertness and mental focus.
Taking a cold shower after a workout can help with muscle recovery by reducing inflammation and soreness. It can also help lower your body temperature after intense physical activity.
Some individuals enjoy a cold shower before bedtime to promote relaxation and better sleep. It can also help lower your core body temperature, which is conducive to falling asleep.
Then there’s the ‘whenever’ approach – incorporating cold showers into your routine as needed. For example, on hot summer days, a refreshing cold shower can be particularly invigorating.
Cold showers and muscle recovery
The invigoration you get from a cold shower is just one side of the coin; they can also be a valuable tool when it comes to muscle recovery. Sportspersons often turn to cold showers (or ice baths) to help soothe sore muscles and promote faster recovery after intense workouts. Here’s some effects a cold shower can have on your muscles:
Reducing Muscle Inflammation
After a strenuous workout, muscles can become inflamed due to microscopic damage and increased blood flow. For that, an excellent remedy is cold water, as it helps constrict blood vessels, reducing the flow of blood to the affected areas and minimizing swelling and inflammation.
The numbing effect of cold water can provide temporary relief from muscle soreness and pain. Again, many sportspersons use cold baths or showers, sometimes referred to as "cryotherapy," to manage post-exercise discomfort.
Cold showers can help speed up the muscle recovery process by flushing out waste products, such as lactic acid, that accumulate in muscles during exercise. This flushing out can reduce muscle stiffness and improve overall recovery time.
Combining cold showers with hot baths
Cold showers and hot baths are two different worlds. Each one offers unique benefits. But combining these two extremes in a single bathing routine has its advantages and can have a powerful impact on your overall wellbeing.
The Benefits of Contrast Therapy
Alternating between hot and cold water stimulates blood vessel constriction and dilation which promotes excellent blood circulation, beneficial for heart health and overall vitality.
Improved Muscle Recovery
The combination of hot- and cold-water exposure aids muscle recovery. Hot baths help relax muscles while cold showers reduce inflammation and soreness.
The contrast between hot and cold water can trigger the release of endorphins, providing a natural mood boost and reducing stress levels. It’s a perfect source of relaxation after a long day. Speaking of which, why not include some Radox Bath Therapy Muscle Soak Herbal Bath Salts in that relaxation session? The unique blend of minerals and herbs will help your body and mind truly unwind.
So, are cold showers good for you? Well, stepping under one certainly seems to come with its fair share of rewards. Perhaps it’s time to explore and experience this invigorating chill then. Don’t forget your Radox shower gels when you do.