Benefits of showering with cold water

*This article about the benefits of showering with cold water was originally published in GQ magazine .

Will Ahmed, CEO of Fitness Meter whoop , is dedicated to life-enhancing business. Besides the meditation and regular exercise , says that the most important part of the morning routine is feeling comfortable with the inconvenience of showering with cold water.

The colder, the better. In Boston, where I live, a cold shower is pretty cold. ", says. " I have discovered that helps me focus and improves my mood : we must take into account those things that naturally make us happier .

Ahmed is not the only person who likes to freeze. There is this increasingly common idea that shower with cold water (or soaking in a cold tub) not only seems totally radical, but helps the muscles and the mind feel better. But, what does the science say and who can really benefit? Experts have given us this explanation.

What does a cold shower really do?

It is important to say at the outset that science does not have a very clear idea. but there are some specific benefits over cold water immersion They have quite a lot of support within the investigation.

One of the most talked about benefits about showering with cold water is your ability to help relieve pain. Exposure causes blood vessels to constrict, which can help numb and reduce pain , says Dan Giordano, MD, PT, strength and conditioning specialist, and co-founder of Bespoke Treatments.

Also can help the body thermoregulate then an activity on warm days. That is, to prevent overheating and help you get back to a safe and normal temperature, in simple terms.

The studies show that a cold shower can also help improve mood by activating the sympathetic nervous system, increasing the availability of endorphins and norepinephrine , a neurotransmitter that the body typically secretes in response to stress.

In other words, in addition to being more awake, being very cold it can make you a little happier . "Because there are so many cold receptors on the skin, the experience sends electrical impulses to the brain that increase norepinephrine, which increases brain concentration and endorphin release and makes you happy." And who doesn't want that? Giordano asks.

Where is the trick to shower with cold water?

First of all, it is important that you are willing to remain calm when you get cold Exposing yourself to the cold while you work to control your breathing it will help unlock some of the benefits mentioned above.

But Without that critical sense of control, the body could go into a panic , with an increased heart rate, potentially a fluctuating heart rate. This is not what you want. A famous approach to staying calm is the Wim Hof ​​Method , named after the Dutch advocate of cold exposure.

and then some studies suggest that the ice baths can actually hinder muscle growth you are looking for, because they interrupt (or delay) the inflammation process.

When you hit your system with a cold blast, the blood vessels constrict. Although that seems good, inflammation is an integral part of muscle adaptation, says Corinne Croce, DPT, co-founder of Body Evolved.

" The body does a great job of recovering after normal amounts of stress, like a regular workout or race ," she says. “ When you mess with the body's natural way of healing, you actually slow the whole process down . You're messing with mother nature's organic system. ”.

Is cryotherapy the same as taking a cold shower?

No way. Whole body cryotherapy , sometimes called WBC, is completely different . This process uses gasified liquid nitrogen to cool the air around a participant arranged in a closed chamber with temperatures below 212 degrees below zero. (If you've seen someone on Instagram at an expensive gym, wincing while surrounded by clouds of mist, that's what's happening.)

According to MarketWatch, it is expected that the cryotherapy industry to grow to 4.29 billion dollars in the United States by 2023, something that scares Giordano. " They don't have any kind of research ," he says. " Nitrogen is not conductive in the same way as water, and many of these popular cryotherapy destinations are citing research on cold water immersion , suggesting that their chambers and techniques provide the same results ."

The United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) agrees with Giordano. The administration is not authorized no WBC devices that meet the range of claims offered by popular cryotherapy centers, from weight loss to depression risk reduction.

" You might think they're doing something different and better ," Giordano says. " But why spend all your money on something that hasn't been tested when you just Could you take a cold shower for free ? "

So when should you do it?

Cold water immersion is safe for all types of people , and you don't have to be an elite athlete to try to reap the benefits and feel great. It's safe to do regularly, and Croce recommends trying at least once a week .

Giordano suggests passing up to five minutes in a cold bath or shower, starting with three and gradually increasing. " Just make sure you never go over 10 minutes ," he says—freezing is a sure sign that you've gone overboard no matter how good you are.

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