Hello everyone, today I’m sharing with you my experience with a-quite cool- internet trend. The cold shower challenge that many influencers and lifestyle YouTubers took on.
Now from what I’ve seen, people have been doing it for years. So I wanted to test it for myself. Except I only did the cold shower challenge for 30 days. Because it seemed like a short duration that gives room for subtle changes. Which seemed fair to me.
Of course, the first thing I would do before making this little switch in my summer routine is to look up the cold shower health benefits. Which actually helped me know what to expect from this experiment.
Okay here goes.
Dear cold water in the shower. I’m not scared of you anymore!
Cold shower health benefits
So when I first heard about the cold shower challenge, one name kept popping up every now and then. It was Wim Hof. A Dutch extreme athlete, who earned himself the nickname Iceman.
He has set a Guinness world record for swimming under ice and prolonged full-body contact with ice. He claimed that this tolerance to such low temperatures is thanks to techniques he called Wim Hof Method.
Many claimed that it was just his genetics. Scott Carney an investigative journalist was an anti. He even started an investigation about it to reveal the “truth”. But he ended up basically stanning the man and learning his techniques!
At this point, the cold shower challenge seemed 10 times more interesting to me.
Here are (some of) the benefits of taking a cold shower:
Stimulates immune system:
One of the health benefits of cold showers is that it helps the immune system, it becomes stronger.
A survey that was conducted in 2015 on over three thousand people supports this point. There were four groups depending on the duration of cold water exposure under the shower. The ones who only took hot showers, then those who did 30, 60 or 90 seconds of cold showers.
The researchers in this study found that cold showers helped the three groups in continuing with their daily activities because it made their illness feel less serious.
They have concluded that people who take cold showers are less likely to call in sick for work or school, because of an improved immune system.
A lot of people who tried the cold shower challenge claimed that they noticed an incredible boost in their moods. They all claimed that they felt depressed less often, of course in a hot vs cold shower comparison.
To be honest this is what hooked me the most, and made me want to try this cold shower challenge even more!
So there is a study that says the following about the benefits of taking a cold shower. The researchers suggest that they have something to do with activating some mood-boosting hormones such as endorphins and norepinephrine. Making it really hard for you to feel depressed after a reasonably cold shower.
But that does not mean that it is by any means a replacement to your prescribed depression treatment.
Helps with weight loss:
Weight loss is also on the list! But how come?!
Well, here’s the theory behind weight loss being one of the benefits of taking a cold shower. According to people who tried the cold shower challenge, it feels cold.
No seriously, the fact that your body’s temperature decreases make your metabolism work harder to stabilize it. Even though with cold water you only shower for like 5 minutes or so.
Another way that cold showers may help you lose weight, is the effect of the cool temperature on brown adipose (commonly known as brown fat). Here’s an experiment regarding this theory conducted on, again Wim Hof and his twin brother (who is not as exposed to cold and ice as his Iceman brother).
Also for a big metabolism change consider having a metabolism-boosting breakfast, like one of these.
Also, I was curious about the hot vs cold shower thing. Which led me to look up hot shower benefits as well.
So depending on your needs, adjust the temperature of the water in your shower.
I’ve given you the medical support and health benefits of cold showers. Now on to MY personal experience with the cold shower challenge.
But first, let me give you a small background on my relationship with heat. One, I am a person who lives for hot drinks. Like super hot drinks, even during summer. Two, My food? Also consumed when it’s very hot. And most importantly number three, my showers. I like them as hot as a cabin in hell. Well not literally but something similar to that.
I’ll let you imagine just how hard it was for me to transition from steaming hot showers to freezing cold showers…
Week 1 of the Cold Shower Challenge: Why am I doing this again?
The first week of the cold shower challenge was, well, quite a challenge. I have to admit, it was hard. I had to keep motivating myself to do it, rereading to myself all the cold shower health benefits over and over.
After a while of overthinking it, I finally decided to hop in.
For the first couple of days, I went for a kind of cold water just to get used to it a bit. Then throughout the week I gradually made it colder (I’m shivering at the thought tbh).
How was I feeling? Well, I obviously didn’t notice much change in my health and wellbeing. It’s been merely seven days after all. So I didn’t really expect much.
I struggled a lot, I used to love shower time but that first week I didn’t enjoy them that much. It was way too cold.
Second week: Meh
Alright, so the second week wasn’t very different from the first one, the water still felt cold for me. However, this time I noticed that I felt happy after the shower.
The hot vs cold shower feeling was drastically different. You feel relaxed in both cases. But after a cold shower, it’s a different kind of relaxed. It brought back some childhood memories when I used to swim in super cold beach water and then feel all giggly after getting back to the sand.
The feeling was sorta similar to that, and I started to like this cold shower challenge thing a bit more. Just a lil bit.
During this week, I recall being delusional about weight loss being one of the benefits of taking cold showers. But turns out nothing really changed exclusively by those low-temperature showers.
Although, they have helped me release muscle tension after working out. That’s something I definitely recommend doing after the gym.
Week 3 of taking cold showers: Goodbye hairfalls, hello princess shine!
Three weeks into the cold shower challenge and the temperature finally feels normal!
It used to take me like two minutes of testing the water by quickly exposing each limb individually and then taking it back immediately. Now it only takes like 20-30 seconds for me to get accustomed to it.
Also, I discovered new benefits of taking a cold shower, other than the ones mentioned above. So first of all, it incredibly cuts on the water waste: I went from 30minutes of standing under the water while it tragically goes unused to shampooing, conditioning, and washing my body in 7 minutes!
Another benefit that was its impact on my hair: The whole situation of shedding half of my hair in the shower was completely gone. It was such a happy moment for me to not find a furry animal’s equivalent of hair falling. Besides, another pleasant surprise the cold shower challenge gifted me with was the healthy hair shine. I got compliments for my hair all week long…
Week 4: The Finale
It was finally the last week of the cold shower challenge.
At this point, the cold splash of water in the morning was almost as essential to me as my morning coffee. Because cold water has an extreme effect on alertness, it keeps you focused for a good number of hours. I got up from bed excited and looking forward to that fresh soothing feeling.
So during that week, my roommate was feeling sick. Whenever she tells me she’s not feeling that well I expect to catch an amount of whatever illness she may have. But not this time! I even felt especially great that week, seeing all the cold shower health benefits that I got.
This was when I realized that yes, it does help your immune system, I guess.
Another good thing the cold shower challenge has done is clear out my skin. I haven’t read much about it online, however, I’ve seen the results first hand. I remember bumping into an old selfie and seeing how smoother my face looks now compared to that.
It was not a perfectly done challenge, there were days when I caved in and took a warm shower instead. However, the cold shower challenge that I took for (almost) 30 days was truly liberating. It gave me incredible energy and mood boost.
I stopped taking regular cold showers by the end of that week. But I still make sure to keep them as part of my weekly checklist.
Featured image from Instagram@lornaluxe