The old polish saying goes: „Cold water gives health” and - as it turns out - according to the research, there are many proofs that that’s actually the case. But, while there are plenty of people who enjoy a long, hot bath, it’s difficult to find people who like their showers ice-cold. The reason for that is that we are wired to avoid uncomfortable situations, never mind the long-term benefits. It turns out that it is worth to overcome your aversion to cold water, and consider this light shock as a pro-health action. Here are the benefits those taking regular cold showers can count on:
Elevated stress resistance
Research shows that regular cold showers can help combat the effects of stress and aid with adjusting to work in high-stress conditions. Icy baths are low-grade stress stimuli for the body to adapt to. This means that after a month of taking regular cold showers, they will not be so stressful as they did at the beginning, AND your resistance to other high-pressure conditions will increase. Scientists observed that people who take regular cold showers indeed have a higher level of glutathione (a strong anti-oxidant), which suggests a higher adaptation to stressful conditions.
Some scientific communities concluded that a hot bath can be a very effective contraceptive for men. A half hour hot bath every other day can lead to sterility or at least lower fertility significantly. On top of that it is widely known than male testicles function in slightly lower temperatures than the rest of the body- the sperm motility and number per ml is increased. Some specialists believe that cold water is a natural way of increasing your testosterone levels. That was the reason why Russian weight-lifters used to sit in the snow before every important match.
Help in combating depression
Icy showers can significantly alleviate the symptoms of depression and depressive disorder. Exposure to cold activates the sympathetic nervous system, increasing the concentration of beta-endorphins and norepinephrine in the blood. In addition, it is believed that during a cold shower, the brain receives an overwhelming amount of impulses from peripheral nerve endings, which resembles the effects of antidepressants. You could venture to say that a cold shower is a source of mild electric shock to the brain.
Aids weight loss
It is widely believed that increasing body temperature leads to losing weight. A significant part of the population believes that excess fat should be „melted away”- which is why many people perform their workouts wearing a couple of hoodies, two pairs of trousers etc. Ironically, it's the exact opposite- the reduction of extra fat is aided by a lower temperature (both bodily and of the surrounding environment). It is also believed that cold activates the brown adipose tissue, thus increasing the energy expenditure on producing body heat. As such, those who work to improve their figures should give cold showers a thought.
Although a cold shower means a moment of discomfort, it might be worth to overcome it, since it can be associated with so many health benefits, including increased stress resistance, fighting the symptoms of depression and melting off the extra pounds. You might want to try it - especially since it’s an easy method, it does not require many funds or a large amounts of free time. All that is needed is a little courage - and the proverbial bucket of ice water can turn out to be quite an experience…