- How to lose weight in the shower
- A daily cold water treatment that could boost your heart health
- How this good fat burns bad fat
For a big man, I can scream like a child when I am plunged into cold water.
I really can’t bear it.
Getting into the sea on a British coast? Give me a wetsuit anytime.
Plunging into a lake or reservoir? No thanks.
And the same goes for showers.
That thing when you’re having a lovely warm shower and – suddenly – the water goes ice cold.
You can probably hear me for miles, as frightened crows flap out from the rooftops.
I’m not sure why this is the case – maybe I’m sensitive to the cold, maybe I’m just a big baby, or maybe I’ve not given myself a chance to become conditioned to it.
Anyway, in recent months I’ve changed my ways.
And I’ve started to deliberately give myself a few minutes’ blast of cold water at the end of every daily shower.
It’s something you should consider too…
The benefits of cold water treatment
Let’s start with a big one…
If you have poor cardiovascular health, a cold shower can do wonders.
This is because the cold water hitting your skin immediately impedes the circulation on the outside parts of your body. Which means that the blood in your tissues must flow faster to maintain your body temperature.
This triggering of your circulation system can reduce inflammation and help ward off heart disease.
Cold showers can also help ease sore muscles…
Because the icy water causes blood vessels to constrict, there is less blood flow to the painful areas, reducing swelling and inflammation.
You’ll probably know how this works if you’ve ever pressed an ice pack to a sore knee or shoulder.
And there is evidence for this too… in a 2016 study, athletes who soaked in cold water had less muscle soreness than those who didn’t use the same treatment.
Cold water is also good for your immune system…
Your metabolic rate speeds up, activating your immune system, which unleashes white blood cells that help fight off infections.
Another big benefit is less well known…
How this good fat burns bad fat
In your body there are brown fat cells which release two hormones called irisin and FGF21.
These actually burn up the white fat tissue – so they’re your allies when it comes to weight loss.
Because a lot of these brown fat cells are around your neck and shoulders, they bear the main brunt of the ice cold water in a shower.
And that cold water actually activates those fat-burning hormones to do their thing.
In other words, you could lose weight by standing in the shower!
Bear in mind though, it does require you to stand for 5-10 minutes under cold water to have the effect, so you need to build up your tolerance over the weeks.
Also, I will state the obvious here and mention that you need to eat healthily and do some exercise if you want to shed the pounds, but the shower could certainly help give you a boost.
There are other benefits too:
- Soothing itchy skin
- Boosting energy and alertness
- Improving the look and feel of your hair
So why have I only just now clambered on board the cold shower wagon?
Well, it took a change of heart on my part.
Why I ignored my friend’s recommendation
Ages ago, one of my friends was extolling the virtues of cold showers. They’ve had one every day for a year and told me that they genuinely felt transformed.
If you go online, you’ll see quite a lot of blogs and YouTube videos in which someone experiments with a sustained period of cold showers and says the same thing.
But… me being me… I ignored my friend because I’m so used to my hot shower each morning and turning the cold tap on was WAY out of my comfort zone.
However, I got so hot doing some gardening during the heatwave earlier this summer (before all this rain!), I suddenly couldn’t bear it any longer.
If I’d had a swimming pool I’d have dived in immediately.
But instead I went into the house and just slammed on the shower without waiting for it to heat up. I took the blast of cold (only screaming a small amount) and when I came out I felt weirdly alert and buzzing.
So I tried it again the next day, and then again.
Now I’m already getting used to the cold and my tolerance is improving, so I’m going to keep it up and see what happens.
I shall report back – but if you’re an advocate of a cold shower, do write in and let us know if you have been feeling the benefits!
Oh, and before I leave you – a quick warning.
Be safe and use common sense!
If you are ill or have a serious underlying condition, don’t experiment with cold water treatment until you’ve spoken to a medical professional.
Also, don’t stay in the cold water for more than 10 minutes and get out at the first sign of numbness, pain or shallow breathing.
You don’t want to give yourself hypothermia!
Just start small with a short blast of cold one morning, then work your way from there.