I’ve heard about a lot of benefits to taking regular cold showers and ice bath therapy. Sportspeople swear by ice baths to speed up recovery after intense workouts. Wim Hof has popularised cold therapy with incredible feats of swimming in ice and climbing mountains like Kilimanjaro without a top on.
Purported benefits of cold showers include:
- Improved discipline and mental toughness
- Boost to immune system
- Boost to mental state and positivity
- Invigorating wakeup and start to the day
It’s amazing that something so simple has the power to give immense benefits like these. So let’s give it a go!
I always take a shower first thing and this morning, I hopped in and had a nice hot shower. It wasn’t until about a minute in that I realised that I was supposed to start the cold showers today! Doh. So I decided to do what programmes recommend which is to make the last 30 seconds a cold shower.
I turned the temperature down as far as it would go and stepped under it. Boy was it cold. It was fine on my head but as the cold water hit my chest, it made breathing in and out difficult, almost as though my chest was constricted. I stepped away from the jet and just put my head under the water. Cheating a bit I know. So I had to have another cold shower that day.
After my morning run (which was a 10k, the longest I’ve done in years), I went in for a full cold shower, from start to finish. It was still hard to stay completely under it, full-body, but I managed to wash and rinse under the shower. How did I feel afterwards? Pretty invigorated! Angelique had put Eye of the Tiger on the speaker and I was flexing and grunting in front of the mirror! Grunting?! I can see why this is recommended for those with anxiety and depression. It definitely picks you up and you do smile/beam for no reason at all.
Straight into a cold shower today. I turned the temperature down as far as it would go from the start and went under face first, with my body slightly behind and just outside the water flow. What a wuss! Realising how wussy that was, I went fully under and sudsed up. I found that I could control my breathing from getting too tight and constricted by taking deep and slow breaths. It felt good again today, and I can already feel that the water doesn’t feel as cold as yesterday.
It felt easier today. I just turned the dial to the coldest and turned the water on. I stepped forward into the jet and it was easy to do. Turning around so that the water hit the back of my head and my back was harder though. I felt that familiar constriction in my chest and I had to remember my breathing. Time to go longer tomorrow!
I didn’t hesitate today and I actually thought that the water could be colder than it was, even though the dial was pushed all the way to the coldest it could go. I still felt invigorated after and super alert afterwards. At the end of the shower, I turned the temperature back to its normal setting (for Angelique, much like putting the seat down :)), and I felt a bit of hot water, and it felt nice but also like cheating so I dashed out!
I almost looked forward to getting into the cold shower this morning. It really does wake you up! I’d had a couple of beers the night before and whilst I wasn’t hungover, I could feel that I wasn’t my sharpest. That all changes once you stand and shiver under the cold water.
There was a glimmer of hesitation just before I turned the shower cold and then jumped in. I still get the feeling of invigoration.
Straight into the cold shower today and again, it was super-invigorating. Any fogginess from the beers the day before evaporated. Even though it day 7, it won’t be my last cold shower. I love them and I love the effects!
What did I get from this experience?
- It’s not easy to articulate it but a feeling of capability – a sense that you can attack the day. I remember a few times say I was running, and I’d think about whether to run further and I thought to myself “Why the hell not?! Do it!”
- An invigorating energy shot every morning. I’ve read that some people report not needing any caffeine after a cold shower. It’s a definite jolt out of your pre-shower physical and mental state.
So how can you start your cold showers regime?
Just start! Commit to a week today and make sure you don’t quit early. It’s just 7 days. You’ll feel cold at first for sure. You’ll shiver and want to end it early. But the feeling after that first cold shower with have you beaming from ear-to-ear and you’ll feel ridiculously energised and positive.
Let me know in the comments below how it went!