Cold showers. Anathema! Like most of humanity, I prefer cold water to remain a comfortable distance from my body parts. But I decided to start taking cold showers back in December. Why, in heaven’s name? Read on. It’s a game changer.
Here are the top 7 reasons to go chill in the shower:
1. Increases alertness and energy. I read recently that cold showers trigger the “fight or flight” response in your nervous system creating an adrenaline rush. Agreed. You will be, without a doubt, awakened.
2. Builds mental strength. This one is my fave. In a way, cold showers expose you to “voluntary suffering” that can prepare you for various challenges throughout your day. I’ve thought before, “If I can handle that dang shower, I can certainly handle this disappointment.”
3. Strengthens immunity. Back to the “fight or flight” thing. Scientifically tested and proven, cold water slightly, but substantially increases the body’s cells that fight infection. If my memory serves me rightly, I’ve been the only one in my family sick-free since December.
4. Relieves depression. Vincent Van Gogh was treated in an asylum for depression with two-hour cold baths twice a week. Albeit, he was forced to do so. But he spoke of his time in the asylum as helpful. There’s also science that backs up the effectiveness of cold showers for depression.
5. Increases metabolism. There are studies that show cold showers burn calories, but only slightly. So I don’t really recommend cold showers for burning fat. I’ve noticed no difference personally. But if its happening, terrific.
6. Decreases inflammation. After ankle injuries in college, the team trainer would have me soak my ankle in ice water and do the “A, B, C’s” with my toes. This was to remove inflammation and speed up healing. Lebron James soaks his legs in ice-water up to his waist to reduce inflammation following games. After I workout (especially following deadlifts), the cold shower helps take the inflammation out of my back and shoulders. Not as effective as an ice-bath, but noticeable. And there’s science to back this up too.
7. Deepens breathing. For. Sure.
Now that we’ve covered the benefits, let’s talk about the cost. Its freezing. And frankly, it hurts. Cold showers are not for the faint of heart. If you have any hint of a heart condition, don’t even think about it.
Another down side is I tend to stay cold until late morning. In the winter, this is not fun. But still worth it.
Here’s how to do a cold shower:
1) Enter shower with water comfortably warm. Now that that’s out of the way…
2) Reach through the warm water and turn faucet immediately as cold as you can take it. My goal was to get the water as cold as it could go. For a few weeks I was about 80% cold. Today… all the way to the left, friend.
3) Brace yourself for the shock and hyperventilation. Brace yourself.
4) Don’t ease into it. Give yourself no time to psych out. Just go for it, man.
5) Start with what you can do. Get under there for thirty seconds. Done. Do that for a week. Then move up to one minute. Do it in rhythm of your showering. Take a hot shower, then rinse off with the cold. Up your game every day, or every other day, or every week. Get to two – three minutes. I fully shower in cold water now—which is about five to six minutes. Anything less, I feel like I’m selling out.
6) Turn off the shower and give a good roar! I’m not even kidding. You earned it.
After months of cold showers, I’ll never go back to hot. The two or three times I did take hot-ish showers was after playing in the snow with the kids. But even then the hot water felt kind of gross. And the energy I feel leaving a cold shower versus a hot shower is striking.
So what do you think? Try giving it a whirl. Here’s my challenge to you: Do it for ten straight days. And for whatever length of time you choose to stay under the cold water—thirty seconds, one minute, whatever. It would be fun if you came back here and commented on your experience.
You in? Let’s do this!
BEFORE YOU GO:
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If you liked this post, you might also like, How To Become A Morning Person: A Primer
Hey there Pastor Jarrod.
Thank you for posting the details on this, as well as all that you share with us. I was intrigued when you mentioned the cold shower thing in one of your other posts.
So, two days ago I decided to try it. I struggle with sciatica and tension. I’m in a bit of a stressful season at work and my body feels it. Without going into a lot of detail, I’m taking steps to get medical recommendations, I now have a Veridesk (stand up desk) at work, in addition to regular visits at Innate (love them). I do need to work on the discipline of stretching.
Anyway, back to the cold showers. I remember when I was a little girl and had to have my appendix out. To get my fever down they tortured me with an ice bath…seriously it was that traumatic, I was only 5 and it’s the only thing I remember about the whole sickness, LOL
But now that’s what I want, for my body to feel relief and to de-stress. Man do you need to focus on your breathing and discipline to stay put. I can’t stay very long, nor have the faucet turned all the way to the left, but it really does rejuvenate you.
I’ll let you know how it goes. Praying :-}
Thanks for all you do to encourage our wellness in every way!! You are greatly appreciated!!
Oh wow. Thanks for sharing your journey, Lois! Keep us posted. And I appreciate your kind words!
Today was day one. Got right in. Head first, shoulders, then full body. Managed 5min. Actually wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Once I got past the initial shock and some vocalizing!!! I managed to soap up and finish the task. When I saw the benefits you posted, trying this is a no brainer. Will be back in touch in 10 days. Thanks for the challenge.
Yes! Awesome, man! Keep me posted!
Turned 60 two weeks ago. Started cold showers 10 days ago. Needed to find a boost to help me with that morning fatigue, aches and pains. Must say, cold showers work ! Just want to share a few things I’ve found doing this. Am able to manage 5 minutes. Cold water doesn’t lather. Need to do the warm with soap first. The hardest thing is having the cold water on your back. There is a cold burn that lingers on your spine for awhile after you get out. , it feels good. Head clearer. The grimace on my face always turns to a smile when done. Ready for a challenge. Praising God.
Thanks for sharing this Pastor Jarrod. I’m making this part of my daily routine.
Believe you’ll make 400 at 40 if you haven’t already!!!
Awesome! Thanks so much for sharing! Love it. And I actually got 405 (twice!) on my 45th. At 60, I hope to get 600! KIDDING! Thanks again!