How Healthy Are Cold Showers?

Here Are Some Curious Facts About the Effects Of Taking A Cold Shower.

Woman taking a shower

Several studies support its great benefits in our physical and mental health. Photo: Pexels

LatinAmerican Post | Christopher Ramírez Hernández

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Leer en español: ¿Qué tan sano es bañarse con agua fría todas las mañanas?

Something is certain in life: nobody (or almost nobody) dreams of waking up at dawn to take a cold shower.

Having to get up early to a waterfall of ice water that feels like a lot of blows all over the body? Surely very few people prefer this.

But, what would you think if we told you that the "crazy" are the largest population that enjoys hot water because they do not take advantage of the great benefits that the hated cold water brings?

Growing science

Although worldwide experts assure that there is still little knowledge about the effects of cold water on the body, the few results that science has obtained don't say that its bad either; on the contrary, several studies support its great benefits in our physical and mental health.

"It is wonderful for vascular gymnastics," said Dr. Alberto Cerrada, member of the Spanish Society of Medical Hydrology, and director of the Elba thalassotherapy center, in Estepona.

Also read: Why Should You Start Meditating During Your Work?

According to the expert, in the case of high-performance athletes, and even in an ordinary person who may have suffered some muscular overload derived from the practice of physical activity, there is nothing better than a cold shower or a immersion in a bathtub, river, lake or any other aquatic body.

As described by the University of Virginia, from a biological field of view, immersion in cold water creates effects in the body such as the activation of the nervous system, the creation of norepinephrine, a hormone that orders the brain to maintain motivated to the body, in addition to the expulsion of "small electroshocks" that can serve as a natural antidepressant.

Thus, all the chemical reactions described above generate an increase in the heart rate because the blood vessels undergo a series of changes to try to accommodate the alerts sent by the brain. Therefore, it is not uncommon for there to be a little hyperventilation and even a shot of adrenaline .

In short, the body takes contact with cold water as a threat, which is why it generates stress, a sensation that, in small doses, results in an energetic and attentive state.

Cold water yes, but not excessively

However, it is not necessary that cold water is in contact with the body for too long.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that a shower should not exceed five minutes in duration, of which, according to a study carried out in the Netherlands, 30 seconds of cold water is enough to achieve great benefits.

The study, which was carried out with some volunteers in wintertime, found that those who bathed for half a minute every morning for two months, acquired antibodies that allowed them to get sick 30% fewer days than another group that never felt cold water during their showers.

"The work we have done indicates that people who bathe in cold water have improved immune function, and that improvement is not limited to those who swim outdoors," said Mike Tipton, professor of Human and Applied Physiology at the Extreme Environment Laboratory of the College of Sport, Health and Exercise Sciences at the University of Porsmouth, England.

However, and according to Tipton's words to the BBC, that cold water generates an improvement in the body's immune system does not mean that a person should stay under it for a long time, since it can bring the opposite results.

"Everything indicates that the beneficial effects may be the result of cooling the skin, but if you stay long enough for the deeper tissues to cool down, it could lead to hypothermia, which is harmful," said the doctor.

In short, a few seconds under cold water can be an incentive for the body to start the day with energy; a small dose of stress that ignites each one of the nerves and that elevates all senses to the maximum.

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