Cold Water Immersion Benefits

At some point during your life, you have probably experienced a freezing, cold shower or jumped into very cold waters. Well you may be surprised to know that cold water immersion can actually provide your body, skin and mind with a host of benefits. From depression relief to burning fat this article will explore the benefits of a cold shower or dip.

Boosts Your Happiness

Feeling a little bit low in mood? Try jumping in a cold shower! Yes, it may seem like a strange suggestion but a 2007 study found that depression symptoms could be treated with the aid of cold showers [1]. In fact having cold showers embedded into your weekly routine may actually be more beneficial than prescription drugs.

Further research published in the Journal of Circumpolar Health analysed the effects on mood of regular winter swimmers [2]. The study demonstrated that after 4 months of regular cold water swimming, participants felt more active and energetic than the group that didn’t engage in cold water swimming.

Very Effective For Post-Workout Muscle Inflammation

After a strenuous workout or a new physical activity you may experience stiff, sore muscles the following day. This condition is known as delayed onset muscle soreness and can occur between 24 to 72 hours after exercise.

A 2014 study conducted in Chile tested the effects of cold water immersion on participants after engaging in high intensity exercise [3]. Cold water immersion was compared to rest for delayed onset muscle soreness. Participants were tested between 24 to 96 hours after working out. The researchers discovered that cold water immersion was able to effectively decrease the onset of delayed muscular pain.

It is thought that cold water may lower the temperature of damaged muscle tissue and constrict the blood vessels. This helps to reduce both inflammation and swelling. So next time you engage in a strenuous workout, try jumping in a cold shower to help reduce any post workout muscular soreness.

Helps To Boost Your Metabolism And Burn Fat

A 2007 study demonstrated that swimming for as little as seven minutes in cold water boosted the white blood cell count and the concentration of helper T cells in participants [4].

Another study published in 2009 indicates that exposure to the cold activates brown fat, which can help to burn more calories, boost your metabolism and help to eliminate white fat [5]. White fat typically accumulates around the thighs and waistline. In simple terms, when the body is exposed to the cold, it requires more heat to keep you warm and this results in the body burning more fat for energy.

Improves Your Hair And Skin

When compared to an icy cold shower, a hot and steamy shower may sound a lot more relaxing. However, hot showers can strip important oils from your skin, leaving it itchy and dry. It is a myth that hot showers can open your pores, as the skins pores lack the muscles necessary for opening and closing. Taking cold showers instead will help to prevent the skin’s oils from being stripped.

The same applies when it comes to your hair, hot water has the tendency to strip the hair of its natural oils, which can result in frizzy, dry hair. On the other hand, a cold shower will help to seal down the cuticles of your hair, making them more translucent. This will make your hair appear stronger, shinier and healthier.

 

References

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17993252

[2] http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/zich20/current

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25375114

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17999770

[5] http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa0810780