Let me just say it this way: I love to take a shower . Usually I take them at night, so I can stand under the warm stream of water and recover from my day. I know it sounds clichéd, but I really do my best to think in it.
For the first time I heard of the benefits of cold shower at school when our teacher told us that the cold water would prevent chlorine from damaging our hair. I never really thought about it and continued to take hot showers in the dressing room to rinse off. (Side note: I remember getting my hair cut this semester and my hairdresser telling me that she was surprised that I swam three days a week because my hair was not damaged at all. Just said )
But lately I've found out that cold showers promise a lot of other benefits. Among other things: sore muscles and relieve inflammation ̵
I was fascinated. It sounded like great benefits to a little victim. But would these things actually happen? Or is it just one of those woo-woo wellness fads? I decided that sacrificing my warm, calming and thought-provoking showers was worth it to find out. The following happened.
It takes some time to finish.
I really thought I could put my shower button on the coldest level and be fine in every way. I knew it would not be a pleasant experience, but I felt I could get in, do what I needed to do, and get off relatively unscathed. I quickly learned that this is not the case. When I got into the first freezing cold shower, I could not resist reaching for the button to warm it up. That's fine I thought, I'll work on it .
After spending about five minutes in the shower with hot water, I went into the transition with lukewarm water. One minute later, I turned the knob again so that the water temperature was somewhere between "I would rather not do that" and "That really, really sucks". That's enough for now I thought. I got out and dried myself, put on a sweatshirt, and made tea to warm me up.
I did the same thing the next time I showered and warmed to a temperature that was cool but not necessarily cold. I decided to stop being a total baby on my third attempt and just turned the button off from the start – and so did I. I really do not lie when I say that frankly it was not so bad – I have made it much worse in my mind. From then on I showered completely cold every day.
It gave me an energy boost for starting the day.
While I usually showered at night and heard that cold showers could give you more energy, I decided to try morning showers. (To completely leave my comfort zone!) If this claim proved true, I did not want to take a shower just before going to bed and then lose the precious sleep because I felt wired.
The shock that ice-cold water gives you the first thing in the morning is no joke. It is enough to wake even the worst of people (a.k.a. And for a reason: As Aaron Drogoszewski, co-owner of the Studio ReCOVER New York City and NASM-certified personal trainer, Runner's World, "The Adrenaline The Rush, When you dive into cold water, you get a rush of norepinephrine, which helps boost energy, concentration, and performance. "
I really did not even feel the need for coffee – which, if you know me, is an extremely rare event. The research also supports this part. According to a 2016 study in PLOS One "the most commonly reported positive effect [of cold showers] was an increase in perceived energy levels (including many reported comparisons to the effects of caffeine)."
Concentration and productivity were higher than in the first hours of my work, since I usually drank coffee during that time and did not use the effect of caffeine until around noon.
Could I wake up early enough to take a shower every morning ? I would be lying if I said yes. But on the days I did it, I definitely noticed a difference.
It relieved some of my sore muscles.
According to Henry Halse, C.S.C.S., owner of Halse Strength and Fitness, Philadelphia, your muscles can recover from a workout when you take a cold shower regularly.
"When you apply cold to a surface – for example, your skin – more blood flows into the area," he said. "Increased circulation in one area promotes regeneration."
In addition, a 2009 study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that immersion in cold water after lifting, running or cycling improved recovery and pain. Of course, a shower is not quite the same as an ice bath, but Halse said, "If you've sprinted one day and want to do another workout the next day, a cold shower can help improve your workout the next day , "
The water should be quite cold to achieve this – about 40 degrees," he said. Point your shower head at the specific area of the muscles you have worked on and spray the water there until the blood rises to the surface and your skin turns red.
For me it helped my muscles to feel better after hard workouts like Speed Workouts, CrossFit and long runs, but I'm also pretty good at rolling foam and taking rest days I've contributed to my recovery, but the cold showers probably did not hurt.
It has strengthened my mental game.
Cold showering is not easy – and it does not work. But because I was able to grin and stand it (okay, I definitely did not grin, but you understand what it's all about), that way of thinking has also affected my training.
"Building mental harshness is one of the benefits [of cold showers]," said Halse. "Running is quite unique in that it does not distract the discomfort, a team sport is about other things – you have a built-in distraction, when you run, there's not much that distracts you – you're looking at your body."  When I started building my self-confidence knowing that I was tough enough to endure the cold shower, my attitude was too. Also my workouts have changed – a particularly hard time? Sure. A summer workout at nearly 100 percent humidity? Attach it.
And you know what? After these efforts, I was looking forward to the ensuing cold shower.