I’m no complete stranger to cold water. Whenever I vacation on the Island of Wight or check out a buddy who lives near the coast, no matter what month it is or the temperature outside, I will always go for a freezing swim in the sea.
On Christmas Day, I went for a joyful dip with a buddy and despite the fact that the water was 7 degrees and the swim itself (which lasted all of two minutes) was painfully cold, I liked the rush of endorphins that followed when I ‘d handled to stop shivering.
It never occurred to me that I might profit of what specialists call ‘cold water treatment’ at home, till I heard an episode of the Tim Ferriss Program podcast, in which the author and way of life expert discussed how even a three-minute cold shower each day can function as a fast and reliable mood stabiliser.
So, I decided I would twist the tap on my shower as far as it would go, and swap warm showers for cold every morning for a month.
What are the mental advantages of cold water therapy?
” Plunging into an icy winter season lake is not precisely pleasant. Our bodies notice it as a shock and prepare us to escape away from it,” states Dr Mateusz Pucek, GP and creator of 360 Health Center, which is why your heart begins racing and your breathing quickens. But by taking deep breaths and allowing your body to adjust, you can find out to endure the feeling.
” [It] can have positive results on stress and anxiety, anxiety and a myriad of stress-related conditions,” Dr Mateusz continues. He advises starting gradually with cold showers, remaining in for one minute to start with and working your method up, and mentions that some people with some health conditions must seek advice from their doctor initially.
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” There are medical conditions that could make cold water exposure contraindicated. These are mostly cardiovascular and peripheral vascular illness. If you suffer from these or other serious persistent medical conditions, please consult your GP prior to plunging in.”
Here’s what I learned from a month of cold showers …
1. It really wakes you up
Much like with wild swimming, when I stepped under the shower head for the first time and felt the freezing flow over my body, it was a substantial shock to the system. I found myself panting and nearly dancing around in a bid to make it more bearable.
I set the timer on my expect one minute and rapidly lathered up, shutting off the tap the 2nd the timer went off and jumping out of the shower. One thing’s for sure, it’s incredibly invigorating, particularly first thing in the morning.
2. The endorphins are fantastic
Not only did I feel energised, I felt a rush of clear-headed euphoria following my bracing shower. On top of the hot, sweaty HIIT exercises I do every early morning, the double dosage of endorphins felt amazing.
When I ‘d worked my way up to the complete 3 minutes, the mood-boosting effects were even greater. I completely get what Tim Ferriss means about cold water treatment being a mood stabiliser, which has actually been terrific during lockdown, when I’ve definitely had what Michelle Obama terms ‘low grade anxiety’.
3. You can’t wash your hair
Well, at least I can’t bear the idea of cleaning my hair with cold water. Rather, I use a towelling-lined shower cap to keep my hair dry (and my head warm).
For hair washing purposes, I alternate cold showers in the early morning with warm baths in the evening, and they feel even more pleasurable in contrast with the shivering showers.
4. Some days more difficult than others
Sometimes during that very first month, particularly after a truly tough exercise, I was getting ready to get in the shower and cool off. On other days, I was dreading it, and had to really psych myself up.
During an extremely cold wave in the weather condition, it seemed like the water temperature level had actually plunged and it took me a long period of time to warm up after, however I stood firm nonetheless.
5. You get utilized to it
I actually continued with cold showers beyond my preliminary month-long experiment– that’s just how much I gained from them. Now there’s never any hesitation prior to I step under the water, since I understand that in three minutes’ time, I’ll be buzzing.
6. It’s a fun time saver
Formerly, I would dawdle for about 20 minutes in a steamy shower, daydreaming and listening to music while I lathered up at a leisurely speed. Putting a three-minute time limit on my bathing implies I can now prepare for work much quicker than in the past.
7. It’s addicting
I never ever thought I would state this, but I now in fact eagerly anticipate my cold showers and I’ve continued to have them practically every early morning since (the only time I do not is on some weekend days).