You may have seen on my Instagram that during lockdown at Mapperton I've been taking cold water swims in the pond in the mornings!
This may initially seem like a strange way to start the day, but I truly believe in the health benefits of this practice!
Today I am going to explore some of the incredible advantages of exposing your body to cold water. I recommend giving it a go once a day — perhaps as a fun and invigorating way to start your day too!
Wake Yourself Up
Having a cold bath or shower first thing in the morning can be a fantastic way to wake the body up and become more alert.
The cold water can elevate your heart rate and speed up your breathing. If you are someone who struggles to get going in the morning, then you may find this to be just the thing!
Boost Your Metabolism
Regularly exposing yourself to cold water has been shown to help give the metabolism a boost. This is largely to do with how the body has to work harder to return to its regular temperature once it has become cold.
It is worth noting that this benefit is likely to be minimal if you are only enjoying the cold water for a short period of time.
Enhance The Immune System
Past studies have looked into how cold water exposure can enhance the immune system.
Data has shown that daily cold showers — for up to two minutes — could be of some benefit to the function of the immune system. Researchers believe that although this obviously can't prevent illness from presenting, it could help to lessen the severity of symptoms.
It has been suggested — and this is one I can vouch for — that cold water immersion can lift your mood and make you happier!
Don't just take my word for it, there is some science behind this too…
Experts have suggested that cold water can increase the presence of certain neurotransmitters (chemicals that send signals) in the body. This includes neurotransmitters such as those feel good endorphins that are known to bring your mood up.
Click here for more of my top tips on happiness!
Many athletes will testify to the fact that cold water immersion can do wonders for the body after intense physical activity.
Not only does this help the body to cool down, but has also been shown to help reduce inflammation.
It has also been shown through research that cold water can help to fight fatigue post-exercise.
Scientists have explored the benefits of cold water for pain relief, with exciting results.
It has been demonstrated that cold water can encourage the blood vessels to constrict and become narrower. This in turn can help to reduce swelling and reduce the intensity of pain.
The pain reduction benefits can also be attributed to how the low temperature of the water is able to slow down nerve signals, thereby limiting how fast pain signals are able to get to the brain.
How To Get Started
If you have read through this post and would now like to give it a go for yourself, then great!
This can be done with just the smallest of changes to your routine — and also doesn't have to be something that you do every day.
Incorporating cold water into your morning shower is perhaps the easiest way to get into this practice. When you are taking your normal warm shower, start by swapping to cold water for just 30 seconds. You might find that you need to build up to this, as the initial sensation of cold water after warm may surprise you!
Once you're able to do this comfortably for 30 seconds, then start to increase the time up to a few minutes. You might find that you don't mind the feeling of a cold shower at all, and are instantly able to go for five to ten minutes under the cold water.
You may also prefer to use the bath tub, or to get outside into some natural cold water.
Although I can't recommend this enough for the majority of people, there are some things to keep in mind!
First of all, this should always only serve as an addition to any other practices you are engaging in for health or happiness.
If you are taking medication to help ease depression or anxiety, then immersion therapy should never entirely replace that. Instead, it can serve as a fantastic addition to helping relax the mind and boost your mood.
Additionally, if you are aware that you already have a weakened immune system or a heart condition, then exercise caution. Sudden exposure to cold water can be a shock to the body! So, it is always better to consult with your doctor first.
This practice is just one of many amazing ways that you can proactively take care of your physical and mental health. If you are looking for additional ways to make positive changes in your own life, then my weekly newsletter can help!
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