If you’re brave enough to immerse yourself in cold water first thing in the morning, we have good news: science is well and truly on your side.
Multiple studies have shown that this is not only good for the physical health, but potentially also vital for the brain. Find out some of the most important benefits below, and tell us: would this encourage you to make the switch?
It can limit swelling and inflammation
Cold water can be incredibly cleansing for the blood supply.
Ned Brophy-Williams, a sports scientist who has studied cold water therapy, told Fast Company that being immersed in cold water can redirect your blood flow “from the peripheral to deep blood vessels” and improving the amount of blood returning to the heart.
It could help you with your weight
It is also believed that cold water stimulates the “healthy brown fat” in your neck, shoulders and chest, while burning away the calorie-filled fats of your waistline and gut area.
While those who took an ice bath in his experiments benefited the most, this is far from practical or ideal for any of us. However, he does believe that eight minutes under a cold shower (whether straight or alternated with hot water) can make a difference.
It can make you a happier, less depressed, more productive person
Research suggests that a cold shower could also be good for the soul, with tangible mental health benefits to those who can brave it.
One study found that regular cold showers could even be more effective than prescription antidepressants.
Cold water is believed to stimulating your body’s transmission of dopamine through the pathways of the brain that convey strong positive emotions, which could be vital in combatting depression.
This is also why swimming is such a strongly recommended activity for mental health; it’s been shown to improve mood and memory alike, and cause a general decrease in fatigue and tension.
Researchers on this particular study recommend starting warm and gradually lowering the temperature over the next few minutes.
Do you take cold showers? Do you find them easy? And if not: are these benefits enough to convince you to endure that morning shock?