Have you ever seen those people in the dead of winter swimming in the ocean? Or travelled to mineral hot springs and jumped into a plunge pool after a hot sauna?
There’s a few reasons why cold water is so good for you and with the change in season, now is the perfect time to start blasting yourself with cold water.
Why start now?
We know our skin tends to dry out more in winter – our showers get hotter, more heating inside, cooler air outside and a drop in humidity which all contribute to drying out our skin. Long baths and hot showers can be incredibly relaxing and a great way to warm up but it also tends to strip our skin of it’s natural oils.
While it is always a good idea to keep your showers on the luke warm side, the good news is a cold water blast at the end of your hot shower, can help to boost your mood, improve your immunity, get glowing skin and give you incredible alertness for the day ahead. (I personally do this most days and I notice it helps clears the mind, gets me breathing and leaves my skin feeling great and to be honest – besides being a little run down from time to time, I can not remember the last time I had a cold or flu.)
The benefits can include:
* Increased energy & mental clarity – dropping the water temperature gets your heart pumping and your breathing started. This wakes you up, boosts alertness and increases oxygen to your organs. More oxygenated blood improves all over health and wellbeing.
* Regulates body temperature – although it may seem crazy to turn the cold tap on high especially in the winter months, it actually regulates core temperature and reduces heat loss.
* Increase weight loss – there are reports that this daily ritual can help with weight loss efforts, as it charges up your metabolism and gets your body working harder to warm you up.
* Reduces inflammation – cold soothes heat and this cooling under water engages anti-inflammatory responses which can reduce external puffiness and redness but also internal inflammation which can speed up muscle recovery after exercising.
* Silky hair and glowing skin – steam and hot water helps to open pores which is great when we’re cleansing but a blast of cold water (astringent toners do this also) can help to close pores and tighten skin. Similarly it tightens the pores around hair follicles which improves shine.
* Detoxifies – the lymphatic system is close to the skins surface, so when you switch between hot and cold water your muscles expand and contract thus helping to flush the lymphatic system which helps to “drain” out toxins. This also improves and builds our immune system and keeps us healthier.
* Improves mood, reduces stress and cortisol levels – a cold shower will increase activity to the nerves and is shown to increase noradrenaline. This keeps nerves positive and active thus helping to reduce stress.
There are two ways you can do a cold blast =
- At the end of your shower turn off the hot tap and blast the cold water. Start by putting one side or limb under the running water at a time. The head and torso next if you can bare it. (You may need to build up to the torso as you can feel it that much more than your arms and legs. Try starting the first few days with your arms and legs and move on to the rest).
- The second method is to alternate the hot and cold water blasts. Alternating for 20-30 seconds, 3 or 4 times on each – this really gets the blood pumping. Both ways work so give them a try and work out what is best for you.
I’d love to know if you do this already and what benefits you see – email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Happy cold blasting.