At the beginning of May 2022 I decided to set myself the challenge of having only cold showers for at least one full year. No exceptions, no excuses.
Almost 10 months on and I have stuck to the challenge. Everyday I step into the cold water (some days multiple times). And I love it.
It got particularly chilly during December and January when U.K. temperatures were consistently around the zero degrees Celsius mark. But that just made the challenge even more rewarding.
You might be reading this with a shudder wondering why on earth I would do it.
The reaction of most people when I tell them that I have cold showers is a look of horror followed by a comment along the lines of “no way, I couldn’t do that”. But they could, anyone can. It’s just cold water!
So why did I decide to freeze myself on a daily basis?
There’s a growing body of research which suggests that cold exposure could have several potential health benefits.
- Improved Immune Function: Cold exposure can stimulate the production of white blood cells, which are responsible for fighting off infections and diseases. This can lead to a stronger immune system and better overall health.
- Increased Metabolism: Exposure to cold temperatures can increase metabolic rate, which means that your body burns more calories to generate heat. This can help with weight loss and weight management.
- Reduced Inflammation: Cold exposure has been shown to reduce inflammation in the body, which can help with a variety of health conditions, including arthritis, asthma, and even depression.
- Improved Circulation: Exposure to cold temperatures can improve circulation, which means that more oxygen and nutrients are delivered to the body’s tissues. This can help with muscle recovery, wound healing, and overall cardiovascular health.
- Reduced Stress: Cold exposure has been shown to reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the body. This can lead to reduced stress and anxiety, as well as better sleep quality.
So how do you get started?
This might sound like a silly question, but it’s not really a good idea to rush into the bathroom and jump straight into a cold shower.
If you are interested in trying cold exposure, it’s important to start slowly and gradually increase the amount of time you spend in cold temperatures. Here are some first steps you can take:
- Begin with a quick cold blast at the end of your shower for 10-15 seconds. Focus on your breath and remain calm. If you tense up it will feel like hell. Relax into the cold.
- Gradually build up the time in 5-10 second increments every couple of days.
- Once you’re up to 3 minutes, try getting into a cold shower from the start. Initially, you may want to have a tiny amount of warm water turned of to take the edge off for the first couple of showers but don’t do it for too long or you’ll never make the transition.
- Try an ice bath. Start with a few inches of cold water and gradually add ice. Start with just a few minutes and gradually increase the time over several weeks.
- Go for a cold swim. Start with a short swim in cold water and gradually increase the time you spend in the water. Don’t go alone!
Male sure you listen to your body (not your mind) and pay attention how it reacts to the cold and adjust accordingly. If you feel uncomfortable or experience and pain, stop and get warm.
Once out of the cold, get dry and warm quickly. It’s very common to feel a sense of happiness or mild euphoria immediately after being in the cold.
I believe switching to cold showers is one of the best decisions I have ever made.
I feel amazing every time I get out of the cold water. And day-to-day I feel far more calm and relaxed.
So what are you waiting for?
Give it a try and let me know how you get on. If you’re already benefiting from cold exposure, let me know what you enjoy the most.
Be aware, your brain won’t want to do it, but overcoming that internal resistance is extremely empowering so let your inner chicken win!
If you’d like to learn more about cold exposure and breath work, I would highly recommend checking out Wim Hof. He is the man who inspired me to take the plunge. Click here to find out more. I have no affiliation to Wim.