FOR SOME, there is no better feeling than a hot bath. But is a cold water shower a better choice for your health?
Health benefits of cold water showering
For starters, taking a cold water shower can help you wake up quickly and even improve your mood, says personal trainer Tara Allen.
In particular, a cold shower can help you:
1. With faster recovery after exercise
Cold baths and cold water showers have become popular in the gym as an aid to recovery after exercise.
A 2018 meta-analysis that reviewed post-exercise recovery techniques found that exposure to cold water is one of the best ways to reduce inflammation and muscle fatigue. In fact, bathing in cold water reduced the perception of pain and fatigue in the participants.
2. When reducing itching
If you have sensitive skin, a cold shower instead of a hot one can help reduce itching. This is due to the feeling of cooling, the anti-inflammatory effect of cold water.
“It helps overcome the feeling of itching, whether it’s a cold shower, ice cubes or a cold bath,” says Carrie Kovarik, an associate professor of dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania.
3. In improving immunity
Researchers suggest that cold water causes the immune system to resist stress, so it can also help fight disease.
In one 2016 study, participants initially took a hot shower but ended up with a cold shower lasting 30 to 90 seconds. Compared to those who showered the same as usual, those who used cold water were shown to reduce the number of days they were absent from work by 29 percent due to various illnesses.
However, if you are already ill, Allen recommends avoiding a cold shower until you feel better.
Health benefits of hot water showering
Hot showers may benefit many of us, but from a dermatological point of view they are undesirable, says Kovarik. Namely, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, hot water removes natural oils on the skin faster.
“From a skin standpoint, the disadvantages of hot showers outweigh the benefits,” says Kovarik, adding, “Hot showers can dry out your skin, especially if you have a chronic condition like eczema. In addition, they can trigger itching because they can cause cells in your skin to release histamine – a substance that makes us feel itchy. “
However, taking a hot shower can be helpful in certain situations:
1. Relaxes muscles
Hot water can help relax muscles and speed recovery.
One 2014 study found that immersing your feet in hot water 45 minutes before exercise reduces muscle damage and pain after exercise.
2. Relieves respiratory symptoms
Bathing in hot water can be a good way to clear a stuffy nose. However, this vapor can also be harmful for those with chronic lung conditions, such as chronic bronchitis, cystic fibrosis, or severe asthma.
3. Improves sleep
Research has found that bathing in hot water or showering with hot water for about 20 minutes can help improve sleep.
4. Helps cool down
While it may seem logical to try to cool off with a cold shower, it’s actually the complete opposite because of the way your skin and circulatory system respond to heat.
For example, if you take a shower with cold water, your skin temperature will drop and you will feel fresher. But as a result, blood flow will also be reduced and, overall, your body will not release as much heat. That is, your internal temperature will remain the same.
According to Swinburne University of Technology, a hot water shower is much more effective.
As a cold water shower, just like a hot water shower, has its advantages but also disadvantages, it seems that the best option is to stick to the golden mean, he concludes. Insider.