Winter is coming. That season where we want to hunker down in piles of blankets and steep in a warm bath for hours. On the worst of days, it can seem like the cold has entered our bones with plans to stay until April. Unless you possess polar bear blood, the suggestion to add cold showers to your daily regimen can hold zero appeal. However, getting out of the comfort of the warm zone could be well worth it, for both your physical and mental health.
Here are 4 reasons to take the plunge:
Like many things in life that are worthwhile, intentionally exposing yourself to icy cold water is not an easy thing to do! You don’t necessarily get used to it, you just get better at it. How good would you feel knowing that you have already challenged yourself and won, within the first 30 minutes of waking? Awesome, that is how! Who wouldn’t want to start their day knowing that they have already checked off one major accomplishment?
Oxygenate and Energize
Coffee doesn’t stand a chance against the burst of energy that a cold shower delivers.
Cold water hitting your body makes you respond with a sudden deep intake of breath. Your lungs expand and fill up. You take several quick breaths while your body begins to the create the energy (heat) that will protect you from the cold.
As your oxygen intake increases, your heart beats faster and more blood is circulated throughout your body. Optimizing your oxygen intake makes you feel awake and alert; mentally and physically.
While there is some controversy around how much exposure is required before the body starts using its own brown active fat (BAT) to keep warm, there is no debate that cold showers warm you up.
A hit with cold water results in a decrease in external skin temperature, while the body increases and redirects blood circulation to conserve the all-important core temperature. The skin remains temporarily cool to the touch, but we feel the warmth from the inside out.
In the winter you need all the help you can get to prevent dry, damaged skin. After a cold shower, skin looks refreshed and moisturized. The temporary constriction caused by reduced blood flow to the skin also makes it appear tighter and firmer.
Hot water in the shower strips our protective oils from our skin. In the winter, indoor heat and dry outdoor air compounds the damage done by hot showers. As Jessica Krant, M.D. points out in Huffington Post, “a cold shower leaves oils in the skin for natural moisture”.
Challenged, energized, warm and glowing; when is the last time you started your day that way?
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