Cold showers

Listen to Dr Priyanka Shekar

15th Dec 2022 • 03 Min and 43 Sec

Adding just 2-3 minutes of a cold shower to your morning routine makes a huge difference. In this episode, let’s explore the benefits of cold showers.

We are all mortal who wants to improve our health and well-being with simple things without any hassle, but what is the right advice? Is it a morning walk? or dance like no one is seeing? Or eating dark chocolate to develop mental health? Welcome to the Optimists podcast, I’m Dr. Priyanka, and this is “One Simple Thing.” Here you will learn just one thing to improve your health in ways you might not expect.

We all often do similar things that slightly be different from one another. Still, there is one thing we all do in the same way that helps combat stress, keep us alert, and positively impact our immune system, which is showering, particularly cold showers. 

Is your daily routine a bit messed up? Or not very active? To come out of these, let’s get into the science behind cold showers. 

The good thing about the cold shower is when it stops! But will it be the one thing that you are prepared to do? 

Cold showers aren’t the only way; there is growing evidence that cold water swimming on a regular basis can boost your mood, lower stress, and improve your cardiovascular health and your immune system. But a cold water shower will do more than enough if you aren’t near a swimming pool. 

But why drenching in cold water can be good for you? the first you jump into cold showers in winter, it will not surprisingly trigger a stress response; you will start hyperventilating, your heart rate will shoot up, and your body will be flooded with adrenaline. 

Being under a lot of stress is not always a good thing. But, if you keep going for cold swims or keep having cold showers gradually over time, you will adapt, and your stress response will fall and become more muted. Studies suggest that we get benefits by exposing our body to controlled stress, like a cold shower. 

A randomized control trial carried out in the Netherlands during winter with volunteers having 30-second cold showers in the morning took 30% fewer sick days than a control group who took warm showers. 

A lot of things related to a cold-shock response, and it is the first minute of the immersion when you get sudden cooling of the skin that results in gasping, hyperventilation, increased heart rate, and cardiac output, but also the release of a whole range of stress hormones as a part of fight or flight response. 

So probably one or two minutes of the cold shower will do enough, and it can be at the start of your warm shower or the end when you get out of the shower. It can vary from person to person, but the general advice for people to get in cold water is to stay still for 1 minute to 90 seconds until you bring breathing under control. 

Remember, a quick 30 to 40 seconds blast of cold water at the end of your shower can be magical and positively boost your immune system. 

That’s one thing to include in your daily routine for improving your body and life. Join me next time on “One simple thing” for a better tomorrow.