Health

5 reasons why cold showers are good for your health

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Young couple taking a shower on the beach after swimming

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The thoughts of deliberately exposing your naked body to cold temperatures might send a shiver down your spine, but there are actually several reasons why you might want to give cold showers a try. The health benefits of bathing in cold water are well understood; it’s been used as a form of physical therapy by everyone from the Ancient Greeks to modern athletes. Here are five ways cold showers can benefit you, too:

1. Improved Circulation

Having good blood circulation is vital — it improves your overall cardiovascular health, and aids recovery from exercise by flushing waste products from your muscles and replenishing them with nutrients. Showering in cold water redirects blood flow from your skin to your organs and deep blood vessels, improving the return of blood to the heart. To really give your blood circulation a boost, try alternating the cold water with hot to bring blood back towards your skin.

2. Stronger Immune System

Your mother might have told you that the cold will make you sick, but in reality, controlled exposure to cold temperatures has the opposite effect. Studies have shown that regular immersion in cold water increases your levels of white blood cells (the cells responsible for fighting viruses) and other immunity factors like plasma, T-helper cells and lymphocytes. Rather than leaving you vulnerable to illness, cold showers will make you far more resistant.

3. Improved Mood

There are obviously myriad factors that can influence your mood, so cold showers are not a magic bullet for getting rid of the blues. But there’s plenty of evidence showing that exposure to cold water stimulates areas of the brain associated with depression and aids the release of chemicals like noradrenaline, which can mitigate mood disorders. Cold showers also increase your heart rate and oxygen intake via deep breathing, leaving you more alert and energized for hours afterwards.

4. Increased Testosterone Levels

As guys, we know how important it is to keep our testosterone levels high, and daily showers are a great natural way to do it. Good T-levels will improve your strength and performance in the gym, as well as boosting your libido and helping to fend off weight gain. Cold showers can also improve your fertility by stimulating sperm production. Good to know if you’re planning on becoming a dad!

5. Weight Loss

If you’re looking for a more sculpted physique, regular exposure to cold temperatures can be a powerful addition to your game plan. It stimulates brown fat, which generates heat to keep your body warm and is activated in response to cold temperatures. This in turn helps burn off calorie-loaded white fats that accumulate on your gut and waistline, leaving you that little bit slimmer.

If you decide to try cold showers for yourself, I recommend transitioning gradually from hot to cold at first to avoid shocking your system. And if you have a history of heart disease or high blood pressure, you might wanna check with your doctor first.

Q: Have you tried cold showers yet? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

David Carroll is a freelance writer, self-published author, and chief health-nut at thepaleotoolkit.com. Outside of work, he loves hurling (an amazing Irish sport), playing video games and hanging out with his dogs. Follow him on Twitter (@DavidAshCarroll) and Google+.