Best thing about winter is you don’t need to iron your shirts for work.
(Just don’t forget mid-meeting and take it off revealing your untidiness to the room!)
Not quite the excuse for me to run off to Canada to live; summers in Australia are just too good to miss.
Turns out no..
A few months back I read [this on highexistence.com] and started my own little experiment – How long could I last with a cold start shower considering we were 1 week into winter?!
First bet (my wife) was “until the first really cold morning” (for Perth that varies – from one day to the next it could drop as much as 15 degrees from the previous morning)
More on my experiment (and some partial male nudity) coming up, but let’s take a quick look at why cold showers are actually good for you.
Cold Showers are Better – Top 5 Benefits:
- Improved Circulation. By far the biggest benefit is how Good you feel after one. Much of this is to do with the sudden shock (yeah, they hurt and not much will ever stop that) [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17999770] your body receives and it’s reaction and adaptation to this shock.
- Better Skin. Itchy skin, dry scalp? That would be those long hot showers. They dry out your skin and remove your natural oils by opening up your pores, adding in that dry winter air and scaly, cracking skin and flaky scalps will follow. This was a major benefit for me and it was immediate. Additionally, cold water tightens and improves the elasticity of your skin and your blood vessels constrict in cold water reducing swelling and the appearance of dark circles under your eyes.
- Weight Loss. Lots of science [http://m.jci.org/articles/view/67803] on this one but put simply – cold exposure helps with weight management by increasing your metabolism helping you burn fat.
- Less Mould in Your Bathroom. Didn’t think of that one did you? A long hot shower will fill your bathroom with steam and over time can cause mould to grow. I don’t need to go into details, for a frightening read check this out: http://www.bulletproofexec.com/how-your-house-can-make-you-weak/
- They Make you AWESOME. There are several things at play here; psychologically – putting yourself outside your comfort zone will improve your self confidence, motivation, and reduce anxiety; physically – studies have shown that cold showers will increase your testosterone and improve your immune system. Add a cold shower to your morning routine and you will start off your day feeling like a boss!
There’s one bonus benefit: you will, by default, have a shorter shower which gives you back time, uses less water, and therefore saves you money.
I’m not going to lie. The first part of a cold shower is ghastly. 4 months in and I still struggle with the first few seconds. I spoke about procrastination and resistance recently and no matter how much of a hurry I am in, I still find myself some mornings wandering around the room undressed, sorting out piles of clothes or reordering products on shelves, just to avoid the uncomfortable situation about to come.
How do you do it? – how to make cold showers the norm:
I’m going to kick this off with a [45 second] video (sorry in advance to my kids when they get older..) to help prove I’m actually drinking my own kool-aid here. I’ve since moved to 100% cold on all showers after my body acclimatised (3 weeks in total) and seeing the great results and I don’t seem to enjoy a warm shower as much anymore. (It’s still hard at first – but well worth it)
Now, I have edited this down to make it <G> rated (trust me when I say you don’t want to see a grown man washing his bits and brushing his teeth) and you can see what Accuweather says the temp outside is on at the time.
For the full run-down and more details on the experiment, check out the bonus section at the end of the post.
Fun Fact: Did you know that 9 out of 10 taxi drivers brush their teeth in the shower? True story – ask one next time you take a cab. Much more interesting conversation than what the usual “what time you clock off tonight?” or “how long you been drivin cabs?” they get day in and day out.
So, the best way to start is just to start. Turn your back to the shower, take a deep breath and go for it. You might want to warn anyone else in the house to ignore the screams of anguish or thumping of walls and floor for the next few minutes…
I did find that moving around a lot (sometimes running on the spot even!) will get you passed that initial obscene pain.
Start slow like in the video, give 20 seconds, your body will back off the shock and you will suddenly feel warmer. You can then turn the water warmer.
You will find that you won’t need the water as hot as you would normally after you start with the cold.
Once you have adapted (took me about 3 weeks) you will be able to have longer and longer cold showers and eventually won’t need the hot tap at all.
As for the Experiment – Successful!
I overeat in winter. No secret, I usually gain about 8kg (<>20lbs) when it’s cold as I just can’t stop eating to keep a nice warm “winter coat”.
This winter has been the same old – oh, except the weight gain. I have only gained 2kg and even that fluctuates up and down over the week and I have been eating like a horse! This time without the guilt!!
No dry skin. Usually during the colder months you can find me rubbing my back against a post – which does garner mighty strange looks from those that don’t know me – it’s nothing gross, I am just lashing at my excruciatingly itchy skin. This will usually last a week or two before my wife takes over my body management for me and applies some moisturiser a few times to fix it. This season – nada. No itchy skin. Amazing!
But, the best thing is still how good my mornings and in most cases the rest of the day as become. Even on 4hrs sleep after an entrepreneurial-bender, 2 minutes in the big chill and I am pumped for the day. Bring it on!!
Easy huh? Won’t take long and you will turn out just like this guy: http://www.icemanwimhof.com/en-home
Ready for action? Willing to just try it?
Give it a chance and let us know how it goes below.