The Strangely Enticing Joys of Cold Showers
bathing cold shower health showers water conservation wellness
I also discovered that I'm really groggy in the morning until I take a cold shower upon waking. Same reasons as before, except the internal warming acts more like a warm engine, revving up and running more smoothly than when cold.
I have read in many places that cold showers or baths are really good for you, mentally and physically. Some say they stimulate testosterone production, that they are good for the skin, and that they increase your metabolism and help you burn fat. Apparently, James Bond always took cold showers as he contemplated his missions. It is said that the Swiss would take dives in the Alpine lakes as part of a healthy lifestyle. I recently picked up Timother Ferriss' The 4-Hour Body, and since cold showers were mentioned yet again, I decided I had to give it a shot.
Really, it only takes 5 minutes or less (as long as I can stand). I just hop in when the water is warmish, then slowly turn it down. I wait a few seconds until I adapt and it feels warm again, then turn it down a bit more. Eventually, it gets so cold that I can't really adapt. Then I just sit there for a minute, making sure all the really sensitive areas get a good chill, like my head and back.
As soon as it is no longer novel, I hop out and dry off and put on warm, cozy pajamas. My mom warned me about a friend of hers who used to take cold showers and got pneumonia, so I'm not treating this like an endurance contest of anything.
Some things I've learned:
- The body is more sensitive to temperature changes than to actual heat or cold. A cool shower can feel warm once you adapt to it, and it is only the first second of each change that is most uncomfortable. Stepping out of a cold shower is still more uncomfortable than being in it.
- Cold showers encourage speedy, economical, and ecologically-conscious bathing. When the water is chilly, you want to get out as soon as possible.
- Your tolerance for cold improves over time. When I started, I could only get down to a temperature that I would consider decidedly steamy now. The temperature I need to actually feel refreshed has gotten lower, which I'm sure is a good thing for the heating bill.
- Even if you're groggy and don't like the idea of a cold shower, once you get over the initial shock, you will appreciate it. This morning, I wasn't at all up for it, and the prospect of a zombie-esque morning shuffing around in my PJs seemed quite appealing (especially considering the entire city is snowed in). Nevertheless, I popped in the shower and a new, energetic and motivated me was born.
- Apparently, cold showers are really much, much better for your skin. Hot showers then to dry it out.
- That said, DO NOT shave immediately after or in a cold shower. That was a dumb mistake on my part, but I will definitely not repeat it. Guys, put a towel soaked in hot water up to your face for a few minutes before taking out the razor.
- A cold shower makes you feel unstoppable. Come on, what could be more intimidating than a frigid shower first thing? If you can handle that, you can handle anything! If the first thing you do every day is something most people are too tender to deal with at all, you tend to feel pretty hardcore (caution, your grandpa may still beat you on this one).
- A cold shower encourages cuddling. There's nothing more sleep-inducing than burrowing into a heap of cozy blankets after a brief chill. Have a cup of tea ready or some hot cocoa and you'll be out in no time.
This post is sort of a follow-up from my post on conserving water, which you can check out.