Why is it that I am so attracted to the cold ? Winter has always been one of my favorite seasons. Much more than summer, because I have always found it more pleasant to be wrapped up in a fluffly blanket than to have to undress ; when there are no more layers of clothing you can take off, it becomes more complicated to refresh yourself... And what could be more pleasant than a beautiful sunny winter morning ?
Now we've enjoyed this oh-so poetic little introduction, let's get to the heart of the matter. A few years ago, I suffered from a rather common problem called "venous insufficiency", a barbaric name to describe poor blood circulation, which brings its share of unpleasant symptoms (heavy legs, venous pains...).
These symptoms were accentuated by my regular running sessions ; each time, my legs would hurt quite baldy for a few days after the running.
My doctor advised me to finish each of my showers with a cold water jet rinse on my legs to relieve the pain. It was very effective indeed. From there, and after learning more about the benefits of cold showers, I thought to myself, "Why only the legs ? Why not it all ? :D"
Cold exposure is not limited to blood circulation stimulation alone, it acts globally on the entire body.
Natural immunity boost : cold exposure puts your body under stress, which will stimulate your immune system (increase in white blood cell production). In fact, since I started taking cold showers, I have been getting sick much less often (once or twice a year, when it used to be that I would catch everything that people around me had... Now I resist flu epidemics and I recover much faster too ! 2 to 3 days VS 2 to 3 weeks when hot showering).
Metabolism boost : you will burn more calories (:D!) as your body will draw on its resources to maintain your body temperature at 37°C.
Inflammatory states in general : cold allows a better muscular recovery after effort due to its anti-inflammatory properties (that is why it is recommended to apply ice on strains or tears for example). But it also leads to better stress management.... And now you're thinking, "What the hell is she saying now?!..." I told you that the cold itself was a stress for the body. How can stress induce better stress management ? In fact, cold induces a better adaptive response to stress by your body (remember that stress is an inflammatory process).
Toning of the skin : this aspect goes hand in hand with the boost of blood circulation (and lymph system as well !). Cold induces vasoconstriction of the general circulatory system (decrease in the diameter of blood veins, arteries and capillaries) and thus allows better tissue irrigation : your skin is more "nourished" because it is the blood that carries nutrients. You guessed it then, cold is great in fighting cellulite ! Cold water jets are used in many spas to this end.
Anti-aging : I could have addressed this point in the paragraph dedicated to inflammatory conditions, but I think it deserves one of its own right, given the enthusiasm that this topic induces in many of us. Skin ageing is mainly linked to the infamous free radicals, which are highly reactive molecules that cause cellular oxidation, which is itself responsible for ageing. These free radicals are typical of areas prone to inflammation. The cold therefore limits their spread ! Isn't that great ? Much more economical and healthy (and effective...) than the anti-wrinkle creams that abound on the market...
More beautiful hair : your hair gets shinier because the cold closes keratin scales, keratin being the constituent protein of hair. It will also grow faster, because the cold activates micro-circulation in the scalp, which is responsible for hair growth. An economical alternative to silicone filled shampoos and food supplements, you will agree :D
Anti-fatigue and self-discipline : I think we've all experienced this ; waking up in the morning, late, with our heads up our *. If this happens to you often, I strongly encourage you to try cold showers in the morning. The whiplash effect is immediate, resulting in a very appreciable well-being too ! Cold showers are recommended in many personal development methods, such as "Miracle morning", because they allow you to start your day on the right foot. Moreover, it also instills a certain discipline in you because you leave your "comfort zone" for something that can be unpleasant at first...
You'll be super cool : I couldn't miss that point! It's one of the most important things ! It is quite unusual to take cold showers and baths ! Anyway, when I told my colleagues about it, they stared at me with gaping mouths !
That's all very well and good, but how can we DO it ?
Anytime you try something new, you should take it a step at a time. Begin with warm showers and gradually decrease the temperature over time. If you are more adventurous, you can try this method over the course of one shower, by lowering the temperature gradually, starting at your feet and then slowly moving the cold water jet up. A word of advice : don't be in a rush and always listen to your body =). Next step : a cold bath ! I've only take one so far...
Are you convinced yet ?
Want to become more beautiful and stronger ? Then I strongly suggest that you try cold showers.
In a nutshell, remember that cold exposure has countless benefits. It belongs to what is called "hormesis", or the stimulating of one's organism with external stress in order to make it become stronger.
NB: Refer to your physician in case of heart failure.
Thank you for reading me :D
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