Many people seek to live a healthier lifestyle. Some will go to crazy extents to achieve their health goals. Some examples include going through surgeries or taking drugs for a better body. Now that's risky. Well one current trend that's going on is taking cold showers or doing cold plunges. Of course, these aren't new to people like pro athletes, but they are to your average joe and jane. Apparently, there are tremendous health benefits from such a simple task. Well simple in idea, but more difficult in execution. So like any other curious person, I decided to see what all the hype was about. I made the decision to take the challenge (bc it is difficult) and take only cold showers for a whole month straight. Here's what I learned.
1. Taking a cold shower everyday is HARD!
I'm used to the complete opposite of a cold shower. I'm used to boiling hot showers. With that being said, taking a shower with ice cold shower was difficult. When that ice cold water hit you, your breath is immediately taken from you. It helps to manage your breathing. You can definitely feel the reaction of your body once the cold water surges through your body.
I would say taking cold showers is more difficult than taking a cold plunge. Mainly, its because of how the water is impacting your body. In a cold shower, the water slowly hits different parts of your body. Whenever you move or switch sides, your nervous system is activated again. On the flip side, with a cold plunge, you hit all of your body at once so your body has no choice but to process all at once and at a faster rate.
2. There are real health benefits to taking cold showers!
Wim Hoff, a Dutch extreme athlete known for his ability to withstand low temperatures, is the man behind the cold shower movement. He is known for his "Wim Hoff Method" which teaches people all over the world about the benefits and execution of cold therapy.
Some of the health benefits include:
Reduced stress levels
Enhanced immune system and energy
Improved focus and creativity
Better sleep and willpower
I can attest with my experience and say that I noticed a difference in all aspects of my life. These benefits listed above are true in my experience. You won't know if they are applicable to you unless you try them. The proof was in the pudding in my case.
3. Taking cold showers increases your discipline
Discipline is in short supply these days. I'll be the 1st to admit that I struggle being disciplined. I have to really believe in something to stay disciplined. I was able to complete a whole month taking cold showers because of the results. I did feel better after taking the cold shower.
Yes, there is a struggle taking cold showers. The cold water pierces your body like 1,000 small needles in a ball of yarn. I'd be lying if I said I was looking forward to taking a cold shower knowing I could turn the knob and feel the hot comforting water. However, it was the act of doing a difficult thing and feeling the rush of adrenaline after completing the difficult task that made it worth it. This taught me discipline. It taught the importance doing things even when you don't want to sometimes. I benefitted from it for sure.
4. The adrenaline rush is real
Although difficult for the 1st couple of minutes, your body adapts to the lower temperature and it gets easier. Once the adjustment period ends, you continue with your shower like normal. For the first couple of minutes though, you are dealing with your body trying to adapt to the cold. This is where the magic is.
You feel ALIVE! You are in the present. No stresses are present. No deadlines are present. No issues are present. It is just you and your body adapting to the cold water. You are trying to control your breathing and focus on solely that. After the shower is over, you feel the adrenaline pumping through you. It's a great feeling. You instantly feel the results.
5. Hot water is a luxury
Believe it or not, having hot water is a luxury. There are parts in the world that still do not have access or the ability to provide hot showers. After the month was over, I decided to take a hot shower to celebrate and thought about how there are parts of the world that don't have access to hot showers on a regular basis or at all.
Especially after going a month with cold showers, I became grateful for having the option to take a hot shower which I may add, have their own benefits as well. I'm grateful to have the luxury to take showers overall because not all people do. Paul Balsom describes, in a blog post for High Tide Technologies, how an Ethiopian women named Aylito Binayo has to walk 8 hours roundtrip to the river closest to he village just to provide water for her family. Let's be grateful for the ability to take showers for granted.
This challenging experience taking cold showers for a month has benefitted me. I am glad to have given it a go. There are many people that have tried it and failed. They give up to easily. That's because taking cold showers isn't easy. For this reason, it takes a certain kind of person to be able to take them on a consistent basis. I do not know if I'll keep taking them daily because I also enjoy taking hot showers. However, one thing that is for sure is that I will definitely keep taking cold showers from now on. I challenge you, who is reading this, to also try taking cold showers for a month and see how they impact you. Hopefully, its a positive experience for you as it was for me.