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Cold showers and cold plunging are a great way to expose our bodies to new stimuli while being able to reap health benefits that help us boost performance on and off the mats. Martial arts is something that demands a lot out of our bodies and we have to be deliberate about the things we do so that we can see this journey all the way through to the end. In this article, we will discuss how athletes or general health enthusiasts can benefit from taking a cold shower.
The Benefits of Cold Shower
It is said that cold showers have a number of health benefits very similar to that of a cold plunge. Now, it is very important to note, cold showers are not cold plunges and do not get you the same results. If you want to take this one step further and reap the most benefits of cold water exposure you should consider getting a cold plunge tub for yourself.
Now that we have gotten that out of the way, lets look at some of the health benefits that research has found associated with taking cold showers!
Boost Alertness (wakes you up)
A few minutes in a cold shower first thing in the morning is bound to wake you up and make you feel more alert! Cold showers in the morning are a great way to apply cold therapy and help start off your day on the right foot.
When we wake up, it is common to feel lethargic until that first cup of coffee is down the hatch but lately, we have been trying to when back on the reliance on caffeine to start off our day. What we have supplemented that with instead is a cold shower! It’s the perfect way to get the blood pumping!
Boost Immune System
Cold showers can make you less likely to get ill. Starting off your shower, you can keep it warm and just have the last 30, 60, or 90 seconds cold. Studies show that people who take cold showers are 29% less likely to take sick days at work and if you work exercise into this equation the same study found that you were 54% less likely to take work off for being sick!
Reduce Muscle Soreness
Cold water immersion has been shown to help athletes or health enthusiasts to reduce muscle soreness and decrease their overall levels of inflammation in their joints. The reason why athletes have been taking ice baths after intense levels of exercise is due to the health benefits associated with the practice.
Cold showers is a way for us to get cold water exposure without have to buy an expensive cold plunge tub. While the benefits of plunging in your own dedicated cold plunging device significantly outweigh what we can get from a cold shower, cold showers can still be a great segway into a more deliberate practice.
Should You Cold Shower After Training or Before?
In the summertime where we love to take cold showers after intense training sessions. It is already hot inside the gym and we are sweating a ton so the cold water helps our bodies cool down. Not to mention when we get out we feel refreshed and recharged even after just beating our bodies up for an hour.
We do not take cold showers at night though. Even in the summertime.
Now, when it is winter, we try to avoid cold showers like the plague. Something just doesn’t personally sit right when it’s cold outside and you volunteer yourself to take a cold shower. Doesn’t sound like a pleasurable experience.
We are not in the camp that will tell you to shower before training either… first off that makes zero sense. Why would you shower before you are about to sweat and get dirty to go ahead and shower again? Big waste of time.
Cold Showers vs Cold Plunges
Cold plunges and cold showers are not going to have the same effects. Since cold plunge devices use electricity from a chilling unit, the water temperature can get much colder with a cold plunge device versus what you can get with a cold shower.
Cold showers are a good way to get cold exposure but it is not the most effective way to reap the benefits of cold water immersion. By far the best, and most controllable, way to reap the benefits of cold therapy is by taking cold plunges in a tub designed for plunging or a body of water that is in a cold climate. In a matter of minutes a cold plunge can trigger the survival mode of your body while cold showers typically do not have the same effect.
Cold Showers are a Good Warm Up to Actually Cold Plunging
We said what we said. There is no way we would go around saying that a cold shower could even replicate the benefits of cold water immersion with a plunge tub, it is at best a warm-up for the actual practice.
In our personal experience, cold showers are not really that beneficial to our mental fortitude compared to a cold plunge. You do not have to go out and buy one (a cold plunge tub) yourself to go and experience the difference. Go t a local store and figure it out for yourself, the proof is in the pudding.
At this point, we have spent hundreds of hours both testing and researching the benefits of cold plunges. While there are scientific evidence-based effects for both forms of cold water immersion there is no way a shower could replicate what a cold plunge could do for you.
Taking a cold shower first thing in the morning is a great way to start the day but it may not be the most comfortable thing to get used to. There is no growth in comfort. We actively need to be looking for ways to help improve our minds, bodies, and souls. Martial arts is already a great way to do it already, throw in a cold shower a couple of times a week and you’ll be getting double the work!