Monday, December 26, 2016

The Health and Fitness Benefits of Cold Showers

Just talking about a cold shower makes people nervous so why in the world would anyone deliberately subject themselves to one?  As it turns out there are some very real health and fitness benefits to subjecting yourself to the cold in a deliberate process.
One of the biggest benefits is building will power and emotional resilience  When you do something you are resistant to every day you develop mental strength and discipline.    Cold showers can also train you to be more resilient in the face of stress in your life in general.   If you stick with it you will not only learn to tolerate it you will become used to it and be able to relax even with cold water pouring all over you!
Another benefit is that your body actually ramps up its innate production of anti-oxidants!   In this study, , cold water swimming measurably ramped up swimmers production of anti-oxidants as an adaptive response to cold exposure!
Needless to say an early morning cold shower will totally wake you up and increase alertness!
Cold showers also improve skin and hair quality – cold causes increased blood flow to the skin
Cold Showers can accelerate fat loss – all mammals (including humans) have two types of fat – brown fat and white fat.    White fat is what we all hate and too much can cause all sorts of metabolic issues.   Brown fat aka BAT for “Brown Adipose Tissue – is just the opposite.   Brown fat actually burns calories – that’s right!  The reason for brown fat is to generate heat through calorie wasting so it is our best friend when it comes to burning fat at rest.  Cold showers activate brown fat.   In fact, in a Scandinavian Study, researchers found that exposure to chilly temperatures caused a 15-fold increase in the metabolic rate of brown fat in their healthy adult volunteers. They figure that if a way could be found to activate the typical person’s stores of brown fat, it would burn off at least 9 pounds of regular (white) fat a year.
Cold Showers can help naturally increase Testosterone Levels and Boost Fertility – heat on male genitals definitely decreases testosterone production which is why the male genitalia are located outside of the body.  Conversely cold increases testosterone production. A study at USCF showed that men stopped taking regular hot baths showed a sperm count increase of up to 491%.
Cold Showers also improve circulation – by increasing blood flow to your organs to keep them warm.
Cold showers can also improve immunity – studies have shown increased activation of white blood cells from cold exposure.
Cold showers can even potentially help relieve depression – they increase norepinephrine which is an excitatory neurotransmitter and there is even some research on this subject:
But how do you get started with cold showers? It is not as hard as you think!  First you can get the benefits without starting with cold water.    You can start with a warm or hot shower then finish with 2 – 5 minutes of cold.    Start with whatever you can tolerate and gradually build time until you can comfortably stand 5 minutes.

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