Cold showers, you heard about them, not too sure if they are worth it or not? Is there any real sciences behind them? Here's what you've got to know about them.
First, let's make sure we are talking about the same thing here. I will be discussing what I know about taking cold showers, NOT cryotherapy which is using cold rooms at sub zero temperatures.
The simple truth about cold showers is that is will constrict your blood vessels like veins and arteries. When you hope in the shower and put the hot water on, your blood vessels are normal, then you turn the cold water and they start constricting, or getting smaller. When you turn off the cold water, and the temperature becomes normal again, your blood vessels go back to being normal.
Since your blood vessels go through a stretch-constrict-stretch cycle, your blood flow will be better, which is the reason you will feel super energized after a cold shower. This is great in the morning, it will wake you up much quicker than the strongest coffee. This will also sooth muscle soreness. Although I find that if you are using cold showers to relieve muscle soreness, you would be better off taking an ice bath.
Another less known benefit of cold showers is breathing and mind control. I know that taking a cold shower first thing in the morning can seem daunting for most of us, and trust me it's not a process I do every single day yet. But being disciplined enough to go through with it will set the tone for the rest of your day. Once you are under the cold water, you will need to be in control of yourself and not "suffer" the cold shower. Odds are you will want to breath faster, make weird sounds and reach for the knob to make the water warmer.
Instead, try slowing down you breathing. Take a good 3 seconds to inhale, and 3 seconds to exhale.
You'll notice that after just 2 or three breaths like this, the cold will feel different, more acceptable.
I find it's the combination of increased blood flow and breathing that make the cold showers so good.
Never tried a cold shower yet? Here's an easy way to get into it.
1. Take a normal shower, wash and rinse at a normal temperature.
2. Before stepping out of the shower, put the water on the coldest setting and spend 5-10 seconds under it.
3. Once you can stay under the cold water for 10 seconds, increase the cold time to 20 seconds and then to 30 seconds.
You may be tempted to turn the water back to hot before stopping it. I recommend turning off the shower when it is still freezing cold to keep the breathing benefits after the shower.