Just those three words together is enough for most people to get shiver down their back, but for the next 30 days I am going to take cold showers everyday. Not lukewarm showers. Not 'cool' showers. I am talking COLD showers, as cold as my house will let me.
Why the hell would anyone want to do this?
Doing this is not something I invented. I heard about it on a podcast I have been listening to lately called the Side Hustle Show. The host of that show started with a similar challenge and has been doing it for over a year now. I researched it a bit and found that taking cold showers is thought to have many positive side effects. What specifically? Here are a few:
- Stimulates Weight Loss
Fat is like rice it comes in 2 varieties, brown and white. White fat is the fat we all hate that most of us want to get rid of. Despite being fat, brown fat is the good kind of fat that we should embrace and love. When we get cold, brown fat burns calories to keep us warm. We kill white fat by burning calories. Therefore brown fat is our friend. Taking cold showers activates the brown fat resulting in weight loss.
- Better Skin and Hair
Why do we wash dishes with warm water? To get the oils off our dishes right? Hot showers remove the oils from our bodies in a similar fashion. However, our skin needs that oil and if we remove it it leaves our skin dry and flaky and our pores wide open for that flaky skin and dirt to enter. Cold showers tighten those pores and makes your skin nice.
- Improved Circulation
When you take a cold shower the blood runs into your organs to keep you warm. Doing this regularly will require your body to become quite adept at moving that blood around.
- Better Recovery Time after Exercise
Ever seen those movies where the athlete jumps in a bath of ice? The do this because it aids with muscle recovery. It also helps flush lactic acid out of your system.
- Increased Testosterone
Ever wonder why those little guys down there on men hang outside the body any not inside? Because they need to stay cool. Apparently applying heat to those little guys can reduce your testosterone levels greatly. A cold shower helps keep those guys cool and your testosterone up. Oh, and this also affects fertility. There is a reason guys should avoid hot tubs when trying to have a baby.
- Better Mood
So apparently there is this chemical in your brain called noradrenaline that helps alleviate feeling of depression. Guess what stimulates it? You got it, cold showers.
- And so on..
Do a little looking around the web and you'll find a good number of references that speak to these benefits and many others.
So why am I doing this?
The main things I am looking to get out of this is an increase in alertness and mood. I am also in a weight loss competition, so it may help with that. I have also suffered from bad skin for a really long time and if I can reap this benefit alone I will be happy.
Above and beyond all those things I have been interested lately in the concepts of grit and will power. I find it so difficult to put in the hard work to see things through. When things get hard or boring I turn into a lazy lump of jelly. How can I change this?
Like anything, to obtain grit and will power it must be practiced. Exposing and forcing yourself to do things that you don't want to do is quite plainly the only way to get good at doing things you don't want to do. I certainly do not want to take cold showers, but if I can do this then maybe next time I am faced with something else I don't want to do I can find the strength.
How'd the first one go?
I decided to do this earlier today, and it just happened that my coworkers started up their summer touch football league. After getting all sweaty and tired I thought I would give it a shot. Let me tell you, the first time is a gnarly experience. That cold blast hits you and it takes your breath away. For me, it was the worst when the water hit my back. I had to focus extremely hard on breathing as I suffered through it. Near the end I found it not so bad, but I left the shower a shivering mess.
But now, a few hours later I feel quite good and I am happy I found something to blog about today.
I'll report back on this periodically as I go through it. Anyone out there crazy enough to try this with me? I'd like to know what you think!