Do you know the benefits of a cold shower? The cold, we know, is invigorating. Its icy embrace invigorates and makes us more reactive. However, more often, we prefer the warm, reassuring embrace of hot water. It happens in the morning shower and in the evening shower. And even with the shower after training in the gym, jogging and playing five-a-side football, tennis or padel.

And if the thought of taking a cold shower has occasionally crossed your mind, but you’ve squashed it like a cockroach, maybe it’s time to think again. And there is no need to become Wim “Iceman” Hofthe Dutchman who currently holds the world record for ice swimming and spends long periods of time submerged in the ice (watch below).

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Or like that surfer, Laird Hamiltonknown for its strict workout routine that includes bathing in ice waterfor his belief that exposure to cold not only aids muscle recovery, but also strengthens the mind, preparing him for the extreme challenges of surfing.

Even if immersing yourself in a tub of ice water would be a bit complicated in a two-room apartment in the city, to discover the benefits of cryotherapy (cold therapy) a cold shower every now and then, if possible every day, would be enough. You might rightly argue, but what are the reasons why one should undergo this ordeal?

If you’re curious, we’ve put together this guide on why a cold shower might be exactly what you need. Whether you’re an early riser or a night owl, training like a marathon runner or prefer a more relaxed pace, there’s more than one good reason to take a cold shower. Here’s everything you need to know.

The numerous benefits of a cold shower

Taking a cold shower may seem like a challenge, but i mental and physical benefits they far outweigh the brief inconvenience of the shiver it will cause you. Many wonder what happens to the body when you take a cold shower. The advantages of taking cold showers are several. They promote awakening, as they increase heart rate and reactivity. The cold shower stimulates circulation: when cold water reaches the body, especially wetting the legs and arms, it restricts circulation on the surface of the body. This causes blood in deeper tissues to circulate at faster rates to maintain ideal body temperature. In this sense, a cold shower has the opposite effect of a hot shower for those suffering from hypertension or cardiovascular disease, as exposure to cold temperatures activates the circulatory system to reduce inflammation.

May you choose to do it in the morning to enjoy the benefits of a cold shower in the morning and leave with a bang. Or in the evening, for a relaxing recovery, or after training to improve muscle recovery, a cold shower can become a valuable part of your daily routine.

However, cold showers are not always indicated. They are contraindicated when we feel too cold and when our body is particularly stressed, in case of flu, inflammation or infections. In this case the cold temperature could be too aggressive for the immune system, so it is better to prefer warmer temperatures.

The 5 reasons why you should incorporate a cold shower into your routine

1.Cold shower in the morning: invigorating wake-up call

A cold shower is like a double espresso for your skin. Throwing yourself under water at low temperatures certainly requires a certain courage, but those who have tried it assure that they feel more awake than ever. Various studies have confirmed that cold-induced thermogenesis produces various effects on a physiological level: a sudden icy stress in fact increases blood pressure, breathing rate and heart rate. The body thus finds itself in a state of alert.

2. Star skin and hair

Cold water can do wonders for your skin and hair. It helps close pores and make hair shinier. A quick cold shower could be the beauty secret you’ve been looking for.

3. Boost the immune system

Some studies suggest that regular exposure to cold water can strengthen the immune system. It appears that cold weather can stimulate the production of white blood cells, the guardians of our health, and a 2016 study found that people who took a hot shower followed by a cold shower for 30 to 90 seconds took fewer sick days than to those who only took hot showers.

4. Accelerate metabolism and burn fat

A cold shower is capable of giving a boost to the metabolism. This is for a simple reason: the average body temperature is around 37 degrees. To keep it that way, the organism must set in motion a whole series of mechanisms, it doesn’t matter whether you are exposed to scorching heat or cold. So imagine what it means for our body to be “thrown” under a jet of freezing water. Among the various effects, this shock stimulates energy and lipid metabolism: 30 seconds of exposure to a cold jet is enough to activate them. And then it is proven that the cold activates the so-called “brown” fat cells, which transform energy into heat by burning fat rather than accumulating it. Each dive under the ice water will therefore stimulate and strengthen the brown adipose tissue more and more.

5. The mental benefits of a cold shower: strengthens the mind

Some scholars have shown that consistently taking cold showers provides relief to patients suffering from depression. The reason? The cold activates some parts of the nervous system, also stimulating the hormones of norepinephrine and beta-type endorphins, which help consolidate resilience, feel stronger mentally and lift the mood. In short, we can reasonably hypothesize that the cold shower would have miraculous benefits for mental health, because it prevents depression and reduces anxiety.

When to take a cold shower

In the morning, to give our body electroshock If you want to start the day on the right foot, a cold shower is the perfect choice. The cold wakes you up, energizes you and prepares you mentally to face the day. A real “kick off” that replaces coffee.

In the evening, to relax the body

It seems counterintuitive, but a cold shower in the evening can help you relax. After a long day, the cold can ease muscle tension and prepare you for a sound night’s sleep. Just make sure you don’t do it right before bed, as you might feel too energetic to fall asleep.

After training, for muscle regeneration

Maybe you’ve seen athletes use ice packs to aid the muscle recovery after training or prolonged effort? The idea behind taking a cold shower is very similar. Cold generally stimulates blood vessel responses, causing vasoconstriction (narrowing of blood vessels). Essentially the blood is taken to where it is needed most in the body, in this case to the vital organs. Then the blood is pumped back to the heart and then to the lungs. This means that the blood is replenished and oxygen-rich blood is pumped into the body, which means that fresh oxygen and nutrients are available in the right places. And then cold temperatures also help reduce inflammation that can occur after exercise, speeding recovery and relieving pain. Plus, it’s incredibly refreshing after a sweat session.

How to deal with a cold shower

The approach is important. Avoid switching to cold water right away. Toughening up gradually is the key: moving from lukewarm to cold water a little at a time, perhaps alternating hot and cold water several times during the shower. Here are the practical things to know.

How long should a cold shower last?

There is no need to stay too long in the cold shower. In fact, it only takes 30 seconds. It seems that the duration of the cold shower does not influence the benefit it can bring, in fact the physiological response that our body gives manifests itself in the first 30 seconds because it is a neurogenetic and not hormonal response.

Gradualness is the key

You don’t have to immediately jump into a freezing shower. Start with lukewarm water and gradually lower the temperature and remain under the jet of cold water for at least 10 seconds, increasing the duration by 5 seconds each time, and in the meantime do breathing exercises to relax as much as possible and make the shower more pleasant. This way your body will get used to it more easily and the experience will be less shocking.

Breath deeply

Stay calm and breathe deeply. The cold can make you hold your breath, but try to relax and breathe slowly. This will help you manage the temperature better.

Focus on the benefits

As you feel the cold, think about all the benefits you are getting. This positive mindset will help you tolerate the cold better.

After showering

After a cold shower the advice is to warm up. Dry yourself thoroughly and change into warm clothing immediately. Finally, it’s always good to move around a bit to keep your circulation active.