This is something not many people like to do, get into cold water or take a cold shower. But you really should! Though it is only pleasant on hot summer days, this is actually a habit that can have a very positive effect on our bodies.
I mean, professional athletes don't get into tubs filled with ice water for no reason. They do it because it reduces muscle inflammation. Intense physical activities can put a lot of stress on your muscles tissue. If they are pushed beyond their usual limit, it can cause tears in the fibres which leads to inflammation. But immersing yourself in cold water can counteract that and has been scientifically proven to do so. Cold water lowers your muscle’s temperature and constricts blood vessels, which in turn helps reduce swelling and inflammation. You don’t have to jump into a tub full of ice every time you try a new sport or you run a bit farther. All you got to do is take a quick cold shower after your workout and it will already help mitigate any damage to your tissue.
The practice also results in some important benefits to your overall health, namely your cardiovascular and lymphatic circulation. Now, obviously cardiovascular circulation is probably the most important. However it is less influenced by cold water, despite it not being a negligible benefit. By immersing yourself in cold water your blood rushes to your vital organs and that pushes your heart to work more efficiently, which then sends blood to most of your body supplying all it with the resources it needs. Improving your circulation in turn can improve your overall heart health, mental performance and boost your immune system as well as your metabolism. Doing it on a regular basis does not substitute a healthy diet and an active lifestyle as major influencing factors on your overall cardiovascular health.
Your lymphatic system though is a different story. For those less biologically savvy of us, it is a network of vessels responsible for removing waste, bacteria and microbes from our cells. It is basically the human body’s sewer system. Contrary to the cardiovascular system though, it does not have a pump keeping the lymph fluid in motion. In turn it relies heavily on muscle contraction to do that. If you don’t lead an active lifestyle, the fluid stagnates and that can lead to joint pain, disease and even infections. Cold water immersion helps your muscles contract and that forces your lymph fluid to keep in motion. This also activates your immune system, which is a nice little side effect.
It’s not all about health though. Cold water immersion has been linked to increases in overall happiness and even weight loss. Cold water not only increases your metabolism, like we mentioned before, but it can also trigger the production of healthy fats in your body, the type that your body uses to keep warm, instead of unhealthy fats, the type that your body stocks up for emergencies and is allocated mostly on our waistlines and thighs.
Like we mentioned before, this does not substitute a well regulated diet and regular exercise. Always remember that. But it is a nice supplement to our daily lives that can make them just a little bit happier and healthier.