For many people across the world, taking a long and hot shower is one of the highlights of their day, typically one of the first things that they do after they have woken up in the morning. A hot shower is incredibly relaxing, and for those of us who can afford to take them, one of the little luxuries that make day to day life better. However, for those individuals living in a household with several people who share a water heater, quite often the last person taking a shower is left with little or no hot water for them to enjoy. While many people might resent being forced to take a cold shower, in recent years, research has shown that there are actually a surprising number of different health benefits offered by taking a cold shower instead of a hot one.
A cold shower can most easily be defined as any shower you take in which the temperature of the water remains at or less than seventy degrees fahrenheit. This kind of shower has actually been given a handful of nicknames over the years such as a “James Bond shower” or a “Scottish shower”, and research has shown that taking showers at these lower temperatures is much better for you than taking a boiling hot shower, despite how much better the latter may make you feel. One of the most obvious health benefits of taking a cold shower is an increased alertness and energy level, especially for those of us who take a cold shower first thing in the morning. The sudden shock of cold water can seem like an ordeal to be overcome, but when your body has grown accustomed to the habit, it is no longer such a painful experience. When the cold water hits your body, it will automatically begin taking deeper and deeper breaths out of reflex, increasing the amount of oxygen in your bloodstream and giving you a nice boost of energy.
One of the more unexpected benefits of taking a cold shower is the effect it can have on your metabolism, by encouraging your body to produce less white fat and more brown fat. White fat is the typical fat you think of, gained by eating more calories than you burn off and stored in your stomach or thighs. Brown fat is ‘good’ fat, which is produced in order to generate heat and keep your body warm through the winter. A study performed in 2009 showed that cold showers could increase your metabolism and promote weight loss. Another surprising health benefit to taking cold showers is a decrease in depression. Cold showers trigger the release of endorphins, and after regularly taking cold showers for more than a week, studies have shown a reduction in the symptoms of depression. Cold showers have been shown to also improve the immune system, decreasing your risks for catching illnesses. This has proven false once and for all the myth that cold water weakens the body’s ability to fight off viruses.