Here's the deal - just about everyone is afraid of taking cold showers. Bear with me because it's a great place to practice using fear as fuel! What's the worst that can happen; you'll be uncomfortable for five minutes and maybe embarrassingly bit of shrivel. What's the best that can happen - you can never be sick again. But read on there's a lot more to it than that.
Cold showers are one of the easiest and most effective bio-hacks you can do to improve your quality of life, longevity and well-being.
The benefits of taking cold showers:
A simple daily cold shower can have dramatic effects on your body. The best way to stay committed is to tell all your friends and loved ones you are going to do it for a month, and I guarantee by the end of 30 days you'll actually start looking forward to the energy and lift you get from your cold shower.
- The most powerful anti-oxidant and one of the toughest for the body to make gets amplified ; we produce more glutathione
- It stimulates the production of testosterone and human growth hormones
- This makes your lean muscle mass easier to maintain and develop
- It also keeps your skin looking younger
- Your eyesight and hearing are healthier
- Your skin (and body) heals faster
- You’ll sleep better (more on that later)
- You re-learn how to produces brown fat (which burns the white fat around the belly) you become a fat-burning machine and less sensitive to temperature changes in general
- It stimulates your immune system
- It strengthens your capillaries, and the walls of your veins and makes your circulation system much healthier
- It helps you learn courage by training the amygdala to switch on and off quickly, and helps eliminate low-level stress hormone cortisol during day-to-day stress.
Some of these effects happen the first week, some take a few weeks to develop.
How to take a cold shower:
- Water temperature has to be in the 60s or colder. The colder the better
- You need at least 3 minutes (some studies suggest a minimum of 5)
- You can take a hot shower but have to end with the 3-5 minutes of cold
Bonus tip: Adding 3,000-5,000 mg of Vitamin C to your daily supplement increase the effects of cold showers.
How cold showers change your body and mind:
The short answer is vaso-constriction, and pre-frontal cortex cooling. You body thinks it needs to go into survival mode so it rushes all the blood from your extremities to surround your organs to keep them warm. This immune system response must be supported by the entire body, so it trains your body to be in “fight” mode and exercises the entire system to respond to environmental threats and fight them off. This system is like any other in the body – use it or lose it. Because we go from heated (or cooled) houses to heated cars to heated offices most people don’t exercise this system and it decays with age. This decay hurts the two primary components of aging – mitochondria and chromosomes (the ends of those are called telomeres and they get shorter with age and degeneration). It also keeps our brains at a higher temperature, plus cooling the pre-frontal cortex helps you sleep better and be more creative.
There you have the how and why of cold showers – now go jump in the shower and try to get cold enough to shiver but fight the desire to do so. By New Year’s you’ll be ready for a Polar Bear Plunge at your local pond! Live big!
PS - I have a bunch of bio-hacks for better sleep, if you are interested in some of those let me know and I’ll drop you a separate email with some quick thoughts.