Start every day with a cold shower
Not the whole shower. Start hot, finish cold.
Every morning the last 30 seconds to 3 minutes of my shower is fully cold.
After doing it for so long, most mornings I don’t give it a second thought. It’s just like brushing my teeth, before I get out, I turn the knob to cold.
But some mornings I’ll think of every excuse under the sun not to do it…
“I’ve been feeling sick lately, I better not make it worse”
“It’s 4 in the morning, surely just waking up at this time is hard enough”
“I’ll go in the pool later so that I don’t have to do it now”
These thoughts can cloud your mind because humans seek comfort. Even if you know all the science and all the benefits of cold water exposure, we still seek that comfort and will look for an excuse to prevent this stress.
But I do it every day because I know in 5-10 minutes when I can feel my body start heating back up and the endorphins start kicking in, I’ll be thanking myself. The temporary discomfort is worth it for the benefits you feel for the rest of the day.
So what are the benefits of a cold shower each morning?
Improved mental state
Cold water exposure causes us to release endorphins (a.k.a. happiness hormones) which help regulate the release of serotonin and dopamine. The discomfort of the few minutes under the cold tap in the morning are absolutely worth the elevated mood from the release of these feel-good hormones.
For some people it could be the hardest thing you’re going to do for the day and you’re ticking it off first thing in the morning. Starting the day with something difficult reduces how tough we perceive other activities to be.
One of the best ways to shake off the grogginess you might feel in the morning after a poor night of sleep is to finish your shower on cold each morning. The cold water increases your heart rate and oxygen intake in an attempt to warm back up.
Reduced stress levels
The small amount of stress placed on the body through the cold is like any other training stimulus – over time our body gets better at dealing with this level of stress. Try and slow your breathing down during the exposure for added benefit.
Cold exposure has been shown to increase what we call brown adipose tissue (brown fat). This type of fat actually burns calories instead of storing them like regular white fat.
The cold water causes your body to send blood to your vital organs. This helps our blood vessels work more efficiently and results in a sense of warmth once the shower is finished.
Cold water exposure has been shown to increase the amount of white blood cells in circulation and helps drain the lymphatic system, reducing the risk of sickness and infection.
There are other potential benefits from cold showers and a quick google search will help you find those. But I’d highly recommend incorporating this into your daily routine because the benefits far outweigh the few minutes of discomfort.
Start with 30 seconds at the end of each shower and build your way up to 3 minutes. #one22