Why Science Says You Need Cold Showers & How I Fared
UPDATE: AS many requested, I filmed a how-to video with comedic relief. See my video taking a cold shower here ---> cold showah.
What's up cats,
Months ago a mentor of mine here in San Francisco shared with me his daily routine which included cold showers. At first, I was totally confused.
"Cold showers... you say?"
He is from Canada so I assumed it to be some crazy Canadian shit they do when the heaters break. Interestingly enough, this thing is the real deal and people do it all of the time.
He did claim it to be a "little on the fringe" but still worth trying.
I did some research and was pretty intrigued. I know it seems crazy to wrap your mind around it at first if you think of it on a high level, cold vs. hot.
But science always prevails and there is an explanation.
Basically, it is shown that shocking our body with cold water forces us to deliver warmth to our extremities via coursing blood from our core outwards towards the rest of our body. The rush of blood through our body is where a lot of the value for our health comes from.
It gets a lot more technical, but I will save you the pain of the explanation. If you want, you can read one study here.
Anyways, the thought of a freezing cold shower is terrifying.
How to Take a Cold Shower
- One night before bed, make a mental note that tomorrow is the day. The day you take your first cold shower.
- Wake up.
- GET PUMPED.
- At this point, you probably aren't pumped, it's 7 am.
- Do what you need to do. Get to the shower.
- I recommend playing a favorite song. (My go-to song is Good Day by Nappy Roots)
- Okay, game time. Song playing.
- Turn the water on cold.
- Now, get pumped.
- Make sure you didn't forget to take off your clothes.
- Game time.
- GET IN THE SHOWER.
Okay. On a serious note. Doing a cold shower requires a few things.
- The water needs to be cold. How cold? Fucking cold.
- Some people do half warm, half cold. Do not do this.
- It's actually proven to get the max benefits of a cold shower you need to be in there for ATLEAST 6 minutes.
- Once in the shower, you are going to feel like you got punched in the chest.
- Just breathe. Seriously. Focus, breathe in and out. Do what you need to do.
- Get out of the shower.
That's literally it. The only caveat though that this isn't a one-time thing and you get all of the benefits. It is a consistent lifestyle.
Give it a go.
The Benefits of a Cold Shower
- Will Power
- I know this is kind of cliche, but starting your day off like this actually get you pretty freaking pumped. It takes a lot of discipline because we are naturally so resistant to this. It actually builds mental strength.
- More Emotionally Resilient
- A cold shower releases small forms of oxidative stress on your nervous system. Doing this frequently you become calmer. You have stronger control in difficult situations.
- Stimulates weight loss
- This one is SO powerful. I have read this time and time again. Exposure to the cold in general is shown to reactive brown fat.
- Brown fat is a good type of fat in our body that actually turns white fat (the stuff we hate) into productive cells.
- It is shown that taking ice baths (one step up from showers) can produce an extra 9lbs of burned calories a year.
- Better hair & skin
- According to Dermatologist Jessica Krant, ice cold water helps our body retain natural oils on the skin and in the hair. This helps them both stay more healthy
- You are more alert
- A cold shower will wake your ass up real quickly.
- Reduced Stress
- It lowers your levels of uric acid and boosts levels of Gluthathione in your blood (I had honestly never even heard of this) -- both of which help manage stress!
- Increased Fertility
- It is shown by a study at the University of California - San Francisco that men who stopped taking hot showers had a sperm count increase of 491%!!
- Improved Circulation
- More blood pumping at high rates = healthier circuitry.
- Improved Immunity
- A study in England found cold showers increased white blood cell count.
- Faster Muscle Recovery
- While it is recommended a cold ice bath is best for this, it is still shown to reduce lactic acid, among the other benefits listed above.
- It Relieves Depression
- Cold showers stimulate a part of the brain called "the blue spot", it helps produce noradrenaline which plays a key role in alleviating depression.
Who Uses Cold Showers?
Athletes are well known for their cold baths as it helps them reach their full potential. For example, Kobe Bryant and Lebron James both practice cold baths as a way to reduce inflammation and soothe sore muscles.
There is of course, as my mentor shared, the crazy fringe people.
The Canadians probably take cold showers. I think I even read James Bond takes cold showers.
And that guy is cool as ice. I had to give it a go.
Andrew Takes a Cold Shower
So the major plot twist is I have actually taken more than one. I have been a faithful 35-day cold shower taker.
I will soon be taking a video to add to this post showing a play by play. But I will briefly describe my experience.
Even after 35 days, I still stare at the water for about two minutes before I get in. I am not sure what people are talking about when they say you get used to it.
Shit is pretty cold still.
The first time I hopped in, I could hardly remember why I was in the shower. My brain was so fried I was staring at the shampoo trying to figure out what to do with it.
I poured a little in my hand and kind of just mashed it on my head. I went the distance, though.
The post cold shower feeling is pretty incredible.
I think my roommates are beginning to wonder what type of animal lives in our attic because I usually let out some victory scream that is akin to Tarzan swinging through the jungle.
I highly recommend cold showers. You get more done. You feel better. The work you produce is more high quality.
P.S. If you are into this, read about Wim Hof, he is the token Ice Man who has run marathons in the arctic circle in boxers. Climbed Everest in shorts etc. Very cool!