Cold Showers: Are They Worth The Chill?

By now I’m sure you’ve heard somebody say cold showers are good for you. Whether that source is your weird aunt that stopped getting invited to thanksgiving after she decided to try “dry showers” or an article online claiming that cold showers would immediately change your life for the better. It’s become a popular theory over the years. 

Now, I don’t know about you, but no matter how many potential improvements I heard, a freezing cold shower did not sound like something I ever wanted to try unless my water heater burst and it was my last option. That is, until someone suggested we try cold showers as a new challenge on our podcast. 

Our podcast (listen here), is called Better Off Better. It started with me and my two best friends entering into a verbal agreement that affected my life from then on. We do weekly challenges to test out things that people everywhere seem to think make them better people. Now, we know we aren’t great people. So why not try and fix that though very competitive challenges where we purposely pit ourselves against each other? Doesn’t that sound healthy?

So, as adverse as I was to the idea of freezing my butt off during my usual skin scalding flames of hell shower time, I wanted to win this week’s challenge. So, we took one for the team and tried cold showers every day so you don’t have to. 

I won’t go too deep into detail about the possible benefits of cold showers. There are a lot of great articles talking about possible effects. Instead I’m going to throw up a quick little list and move on to my personal experience with this challenge, as I’m sure you’ve already heard what this can do for you. 

Cold showers with a water temperature below 70°F are said to have the following benefits:

  • Increasing endorphins (reducing symptoms of depression by simulating a sort of electroshock therapy… fun…)
  • Improving your metabolism 
  • Improving circulation
  • Assist in fighting off certain common illnesses by stimulating leukocytes in your bloodstream
  • Calming irritated skin
  • Helps promote wakefulness and alertness 

Now, these are wonderful benefits, but after a week of cold showers, am I still doing this? (Hint: no) Here’s what I took from my week of cold showers.

Mood and Wakefulness  

Now, I can admit easily that I have a hard time waking up in the morning. And my warm showers definitely don’t shock me into wakefulness. In fact, I use the warm water as a sort of liquid blanket and revel in my sleepiness during most of my morning showers. So the shock of water that feels like you’re jumping into an arctic lake was definitely a change for me. I’ll admit that it definitely woke me up far faster than any other shower I’ve ever taken. (And kept me up afterwards too). 

As for mood, I didn’t feel much of a change honestly. In fact if I were to reach to find a change in my mood, I would lean toward the negative. Imagine having a really rough day, you’re stressed, tired, overworked and mentally exhausted. You grab your towel and head in for a calming and cozy shower. (maybe you’ll even shed a few tears, after all no one can tell in the shower!) But instead of the warm and calming water, you’re blasted by freezing jets of ice. Yea, maybe it wakes you up. But that does nothing for my mood but makes me want to get out and curl up under my blankets. 

I’m a lover of warm showers, and this did nothing positive for my overall mood, even if it was effective at waking me up!

Ease of Experience

A huge huge obstacle for me this week was goosebumps. No matter what you call them, my legs bumping up at the first contact with cold water made many showering activities very hard to achieve all week long. Have you ever tried to shave your legs while they’re covered in goosebumps? Take it from me, it’s a terrible, bloody, mess of a situation. Would not recommend to anyone. 

Along with that, washing my hair became a really uncomfortable situation. We went to the extreme of freezing water instead of lukewarm or “cool” so staying under the showerhead long enough to rinse out my hair was a terrible experience. I was shivering and dying to get out of the water for the entirety of every shower that week. 

Metabolism and fighting off common illness

I can’t speak to this extensively, as it’s not something I can really track per say. However, I found myself thinking back to my grandmother yelling “grab a hat, you’re going to catch a cold!” I’m not entirely sure if the same saying applies here, (and I certainly didn’t wear a hat in the shower) but I don’t see how shivering would help you fight off illness in the long run. 

Increasing your circulation does make sense to me. Though I’m not entirely sure if I saw the benefits of increased circulation on overall health. As the cold water hits your external limbs, your circulation in those areas is constricted. This causes the blood in your deeper tissues near the center of your body to circulate faster rates. This can reduce inflammation. Surely if I continued this challenge I might see a larger change. 

In Conclusion: Cold Showers: Are They Worth The Chill?

There are a few solid benefits to cold showers. However in my personal experience, I’d much rather use other methods for circulation, alertness, and metabolism. My ultimate goal is to keep my cozy warm showers!

A lukewarm shower here and there is nice to cool off in the summer, but I always find myself cranking up the heat halfway through. I’d say test it out for yourself, and hey, maybe you’ll enjoy the torturous feeling of arctic water! Just please, stay away from the razor… Trust me…

Check out our podcast Better Off Better to hear us struggle with freezing cold showers for a week!

How about the author of this post, Jenny Whipple

Check out a few other cool articles from Jenny such as: The Beginner Juice Cleanse: Is It Worth It?, The Biggest Benefits From A Vegetarian Diet, and Winston Churchill’s Absurd Daily Routine Will Change Your Life

Also, our Youtube channel for video podcasts and other comedy stuff

And lastly, a more scientific rundown of the benefits of cold showers here and here.

Thank you for reading “Cold Showers: Are They Worth The Chill?”

Written By: Jenny Whipple