Nothing will make you feel more alive than going for a swim in cold water!
Have you ever tried cold water immersion? Even if only because the hot water has run out?
Maybe like me, you are familiar with cold water activities? I LOVE to winter surf which is normally about 8 degrees and often I end up having a cold shower at the beach to wash the salt off. Actually, when all the campsites are closed I can often be seen in my bikini in a large bucket using a spray bottle to shower with! It's fresh that is for sure!
But I love it and the amazing feeling and sensations go n long after. It's something I have now integrated into my daily morning getting up ritual, apart from the week of my period, and I have to say, I feel better for it.
So whether cold showers or cold swimming, why should you try it?
1. It Wakes You Up
If you tried everything to beat the morning grog but still find that you are not fully functioning, I assure you a cold shower will do the trick!
When that cold spray hits your body, there’s a bit of shock.
This shock increases:
- Oxygen intake
- Heart rate
2. Increasing Circulation & Tolerance to the Cold
I am not great in the cold, being cold makes me grumpy. However, most of my activities involve the cold. Snowboarding, Surfing (in the UK its always cold), staying in the van for surfing, especially between November and April it can be bitter!
If, like me, you have Raynauds and terrible circulation it can help reduce your intolerance to cold.
As cold water hits your body and external limbs, it constricts circulation on the surface of your body. This causes blood in your deeper tissues to circulate at faster rates to maintain ideal body temperature.
3. It supports Peri-Menopause!
During perimenopause both estrogen and progesterone decline, this decline also depletes levels of serotonin and testosterone. So finding ways to boost serotonin can support your mood and the changes the brain goes through as it recalibrates to adapt to the declining levels of hormones in the body.
Cold water releases endorphins – the feel-good chemicals. This gives creates a natural high which helps fight against anxiety and low mood. Being in cold water also stimulates the body to release dopamine and serotonin, and this helps us to feel happy. Combine this with the benefits of regular exercise and you have a powerful and natural way to support mood fluctuations in perimenopause.
It can also help -
- Boost the immune system
- Help improve low mood
- Increase motivation
- Increase libido
4. Reducing DOMS (Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness) Post-Workout
For me, cold showers were a game-changer for post work out recovery!!
Studies have shown that cold showers are one of the most effective ways to reduce DOMS, fatigue, muscle damage, and inflammation after physical exercise when compared to active recovery, massage, and compression garments.
5. Boosting Weight Loss
This wasn't the biggest selling point for me as I'm not actively trying to lose weight, but if it happens, I wouldn't complain.
So some fat cells, such as brown fat, can generate heat by burning fat. They do this when your body is exposed to cold conditions like in a shower. When brown fat burns, it creates heat without shivering. This process is called thermogenesis. During this process, the brown fat also burns calories.
6. Healthier Stronger Hair
As someone with VERY fine hair, this was a big one for me! Scientific research is limited regarding the effect cold water has on your skin and hair but there is some evidence of its positive effects.
According to an article published on the website NaturallyCurly.com, cold water closes and strengthens your hair cuticles. WIN! Unlike hot water, cold water doesn’t dry out the sebum layer, a naturally lubricated barrier that provides protection for your skin and hair. As a result, your hair may be more likely to become stronger and healthier over time.
What have I noticed?
I can say from my time experimenting with cold water therapy this is what I have experienced-
- Groggy to awake in 0.01 seconds
- Prolonged energy in the morning, I don't seem to get my mid-morning dip anymore
- Tolerance under duress and it's helping me to control my breathing when in stressful situations.
- Better mental focus in the mornings.
- My muscles recover faster after exercise.
- Improved mood and feelings of positivity, sometimes euphoric!
- Lovey yummy waves after sensations
- Community and friendship
It's definitely something I worked towards, I would recommend building tolerance gradually letting your showers get colder and colder to adapt to it for a few weeks and then just go for it!
I also use cold showers to support my cold water swimming to maintain my tolerance to the cold.
I don't practice cold water immersion of any kind during my period as it doesn't feel good.
Sometimes if I'm not feeling like full cold immersion I have a warm shower and finish with the cold, especially when I've washed my hair.
No when I get into my cold shower and I love it, where I used to stand under a hot stream of lovely water and It felt all yummy, I now feel about the same about the cool sensation on my skin, it's fresh and reviving, I even look forward to it!