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I Took a Cold Shower for a Month: The Impact of Daily Cold Exposure

Cold shower

The human body is a fascinating and resilient machine. It can adapt and respond to a wide range of conditions, including the shock of a cold shower. In this article, I'll take you through my personal journey of taking cold showers every day for a month, and the surprising benefits I discovered along the way.

Benefits of the cold shower

Cold showers are believed to offer several benefits. Here are the benefits of the cold shower.

  1. Improved Circulation: Cold showers may stimulate blood flow, which could potentially improve overall circulation.

  2. Reduced Muscle Soreness: Cold water immersion may help alleviate muscle soreness and inflammation, making it popular among athletes for post-workout recovery.

  3. Increased Alertness and Energy: Cold showers can be invigorating and may help increase alertness and energy levels due to the shock to the nervous system.

  4. Enhanced Mood: Exposure to cold water is believed to trigger the release of endorphins, which can contribute to a better mood and reduced stress.

  5. Improved Skin and Hair Health: Cold water can help tighten the pores, reduce oiliness, and improve the overall health of the skin and hair.

  6. Boosted Immune System: Some proponents suggest that regular exposure to cold water may support immune system function, though more research is needed to establish this claim.

  7. Increased Resilience to Cold: Regular exposure to cold water can help the body adapt and become more resilient to lower temperatures over time.

What Inspired Me to Start

I have occasionally taken cold showers for several years, maybe a couple of times a month. However, I had never committed to taking a cold shower every day for more than a few weeks until one fateful day when the water heater in my house broke, leaving me with no hot water. Faced with this predicament, I decided to challenge myself to take a cold shower every single day for the next 31 days.

Day 1: A Chilling Introduction

The first day was a shock to the system. After getting out of bed, I went to the shower room and stood naked in front of the shower on that freezing December morning. The temperature in the shower room was extremely low, already intimidating in itself. I absolutely didn't want to take a cold shower, but I decided to do it (no hot water running anyway). I turned on the shower handle, and winter's freezing water ran through the showerhead and hit my body—almost painful rather than just cold. Despite the discomfort, I managed to finish washing my body. I made it. After getting out of the shower, I felt satisfied with a sense of accomplishment.

Week 2: The Struggle Continues

Despite a week of daily cold showers, my body still hadn't accustomed itself to the bone-chilling temperatures. I felt intimidated every time I stood in front of the shower. Each night before going to bed, the thought of having to take a cold shower the following day felt daunting.

The good thing about this situation is that I can increase my willpower since I haven't gotten used to the temperature, and I absolutely don't want to do it. However, every time I step out of the shower, I feel invigorated and instantly awake.

Week 3: The Cold Reality Sets In

By week three, I realized that the cold water would never feel warm (maybe even Wim Hof still feels cold water as cold), nor would I ever look forward to the icy shock each morning.

Around this time, the month transitioned to a new year, January. With the dropping temperatures, the water became even more intense, freezing water was hurting my skin every morning. Experiencing mental fatigue from the daily cold showers, but I persisted and remained committed to taking one every single day.

Day 31: The Result

Even after a month, I still wasn't thrilled about my morning cold showers. However, I noticed that my body felt good and my workout performance had improved, leading me to believe that the cold showers were aiding in muscle recovery.

After a Month: A New Routine

Six weeks in, and I'm still taking cold showers every morning. The cold water is still a shock, but I've accepted it as part of my morning routine. The benefits I've experienced make the discomfort worth it.

My Observations on the Benefits of Cold Showers

As you've seen the benefits of cold showers above, you may wonder if it's really true. Here are my opinions on these benefits:

  • Improved Circulation: Obviously yes. When I take a cold shower, my heart rate instantly goes up. As the heart rate increases, it stimulates blood flow.

  • Reduced Muscle Soreness: Probably, yes. I feel my body soreness is recovering pretty quickly.

  • Increased Alertness and Energy: Hell yes. When I expose my body to freezing water, my eyes immediately open. No need for caffeine to wake me up.

  • Enhanced Mood: I feel satisfied after getting out of a cold shower, but it doesn't last long. However, for sure, it's the best way to kick-start the day.

  • Improved Skin and Hair Health: The skin gets tightened by taking cold showers, and I don't get itchiness. But I'm not sure about the hair health (I have a buzz cut).

  • Boosted Immune System: It's not very recognizable within 6 weeks. But I haven't caught a cold.

  • Increased Resilience to Cold: Probably not; winter is always cold, and freezing water is always freezing. I don't accumulate cold.

How to Start Taking Cold Showers?

As Wim Hof, known as the Ice Man and a famous advocate of cold exposure, suggests, 'Never push yourself too much.' If you are a beginner, especially if you haven't taken cold showers before, during winter, start with hot water and gradually lower the temperature, but not icy cold (unless your house's water heater is not working, like mine).

Once you get used to taking cold showers, adjust the water temperature to an uncomfortable level because if you feel comfortable, you won't experience the full benefits of cold exposure.

When's the Best Time to Take a Cold Shower?

The best time to take a cold shower is in the morning, especially after waking up, because a cold shower instantly makes you more awake. The increased alertness and energy from a cold shower are even better than coffee. Since a cold shower makes you alert and awake, it's better to avoid freezing temperatures for a cold shower at night.

Also, if you want to use a cold shower to increase your willpower, the most effective time is when you don't want to. So, probably the best time to take a cold shower is right after waking up during the freezing winter.

Should You Take a Cold Shower?

If you're looking to improve your health and boost your willpower, I would definitely recommend giving cold showers a try. You don't have to take them every day. Start with a few times a week, beginning with warm water and ending with a blast of cold.

In conclusion, my daily cold shower routine has become a test of willpower, a boost for my health, and an invigorating start to my day. If you're up for the challenge, why not try it yourself and see how it changes your life?


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