I’ve been a long proponent of taking cold showers intermittently which for me once every few days. It has been proven to provide multiple benefits such as helping improve your immune system among other benefits. But what about weight loss? Can this really help in that department?
Research is mixed on this, but logic says yes, it really can. But how? Well let’s look at this from a different angle:
A cold shower wakes you entire body up like nothing else. It basically puts it into shock and makes the heart beat faster and pump more blood. This increases metabolism and circulation which can absolutely lead to more calorie burning and obviously weight loss. Plus because the heart and body will work harder to make sure you are kept warm, this will only increase the amount of calories you can burn.
But let’s talk about the shock factor. Can such a shock be healthy or unhealthy for your body? Well if you’re used to doing this regularly, then the shock can provide good benefits and if you’ve never taken a cold shower, your body isn’t prepared for it and you just step into the cold without proper preparation (read on as this is VERY important), then it can be dangerous.
Never take cold showers/baths if…
- You are sick or feeling like you’re coming down with something.
- You are not properly prepared to do so first by preparing yourself.
How to properly take cold showers for maximum weight loss benefits (reduce risk):
Cold showers can be taken in different times during the day. It can be taken when you wake up, after you come home from work or finish a workout. It shouldn’t be taken before bed as this will make falling asleep much harder.
If you are new to taking cold showers and your goal is weight loss, understand the following:
You absolutely should not jump right into a cold shower (or any body of cold or freezing water) without properly preparing your body first. If you’re new, in order to prepare, you will first need to get used to the feeling of cold water on your body and the best way to do this is to start very slowly. For example:
If you plan on taking cold showers in the morning and you’ve never done it before, don’t start immediately. Pour some of the cold water into your hands and gently put it on your body. For starters, the armpit, hands then chest is a good place to begin. This must be done slowly and it will be annoying at first, but as you get more and more used to it, it will become more pleasant.
I take cold showers and often do things such as swimming in cold rivers and even though I am technically more prepared for it than most, I still prepare my body beforehand in this exact same method. I gently apply some of the water on myself to get used to it. Then I apply more water using the same method, but I splash it on myself. It is only after all of this is done that I finally start to come in. With showers, I apply the same exact method.
Should cold showers be taken during the cold/hot seasons?
Common wisdom would say that you should take a cold shower when it’s hot to cool or and a hot shower when it’s cold to warm up. And while it’s more comfortable for us to follow this method, by actually doing the opposite, we can get better results. This means:
Taking cold showers during cold seasons and hot showers during hot seasons can better help improve our health and also provide weight loss benefits.
Taking cold showers when it’s cold outside actually prepares our bodies to better withstand the cold temperatures which is why a lot of people who take cold showers during the fall and winter seasons tend to get sick less as well as don’t feel as cold as others.
Taking hot showers during the spring and summer seasons better prepares our bodies from succumbing to hot temperatures. This is also why a lot of people who take the hot showers during the hot seasons get sick much less and withstand the outside temperatures more.
Should hot and cold showers be mixed together?
I mix up my hot and cold showers in 1 session. I start off with a 10 second application of cold water on my body before getting into the shower itself. From there, I apply hot water on myself and do this for about 10 seconds. After that I will switch to cold water, slowly get into it and once I do, hold it for 10 seconds, then go back to a hot shower again and keep repeating this until I reach about 10 reps.
By the time I finish up (usually with a cold shower being the last), I will feel a tingly sensation in my body. This is considered a good sign.
Should you do this? You should obviously consult with a doctor prior if you have any questions or doubts, but I like it and it works for me.
There are beliefs that you should take mixed showers as this provides even greater health benefits. This is one of the reasons you see those who go regularly into saunas then come out and dive into a cold pool or hit the cold showers.
If you decide to do this, again, please be careful and take things one step at a time. Instead of jumping right into the pool or cold shower, splash a few places on your body first. Basically look before you leap as they say.
How many calories can a cold shower burn?
It seems like a play on words to say cold, shower and burn in the same sentence but it does happen, however with the studies being done right now, there is no solid evidence that taking cold showers leads to significant weight loss and calories burned also varies because we have to consider who the person is, their weight, how long they took the cold shower for, if they changed from hot to cold, then back and so on.
What is true is that cold showers can provide EXCELLENT health benefits IF you do is correctly. If not, then it can lead to health problems so make sure you never overdo this. Take things slowly with cold showers, but don’t depend on them to be the solution to all your weight loss problems. Use it as a small piece of a much bigger goal to lose the weight.