Taking cold showers is something I’ve been trying to incorporate into my routine for a while. Because it’s summer, I thought it would be a good time to give it another try.
If you do a quick Google search, you’ll find that there are many benefits to taking cold showers, including:
- Increased vitality
- Decreased muscle soreness
- Stress management
- Enhanced weight loss
I think I read a James Bond novel that described the famed spy getting up in the morning and starting the day with an ice-cold shower. It purportedly increased his alertness, which would be necessary for someone who is trying to achieve situational awareness.
I may not be worried about Goldfinger or Dr. No, but I definitely want to reap the benefits of taking cold showers. But, to be honest, it’s been something that continues to be more or less out of reach.
Maybe because it’s summer, I found out my water temperature won’t go below seventy degrees. And true hydrotherapy starts there, but this could be okay. I’ve found that a temperature of eighty degrees is nice and preferable to a hot shower, at times. Seventy-five degrees, surprisingly, starts to get a little uncomfortable. More so than I’d like to admit, considering I’ve been in rivers whose temps are in the fifty’s. Granted, I was wearing a wet suit.
So, how did I do it? I started progressively decreasing the temperature of the water in my shower after a workout (when my body tends to be overheated). This turned out to be a pretty effective strategy because starting with freezing water was something I was resisting.
What I learned was that when it comes down to it, I’m not sure I need to torture myself with a freezing shower from start to finish. After all, there are benefits to a hot shower, as well. They can also help decrease muscle soreness.
I’m still going to work at it, but I think I’ve found a happy medium. When I’m really warm (e.g., after a run on a hot day), a cold shower could be beneficial. But when it’s cold out, and I’m sore after hitting the gym, a hot shower might also do me some good.
Of course, once I become an international spy, this could all change.
photo: Andrew Neel