Cold Showers for Weight Loss and Metabolism Boost? Benefits and Drawbacks Explained


During the hot summer or after exercise, you might want to cool down with a cold shower. In fact, cold showers offer numerous benefits—they can help with weight loss and soothe post-exercise muscle soreness. However, not everyone is suited for cold showers. What are the contraindications? Here's everything you need to know.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Cold Showers

Taking a cold shower requires some mental preparation, as the instant the cold water hits, it can feel like it chills you to the bone. Nonetheless, cold showers indeed have their benefits. Here are six benefits of taking a cold shower:

1.Relieves Skin Itching: Cold showers and cold compresses can help alleviate symptoms of itchy skin.

2.Boosts Alertness: The logic behind cold showers boosting alertness is similar to washing your face when sleepy. Cold water increases heart rate when it hits the body, giving you a jolt of energy.

3.Improves Blood Circulation: When you rinse your whole body with cold water, blood circulation speeds up to maintain body temperature.

4. Eases Muscle Soreness: The principle of cold showers is similar to the cryotherapy popular among athletes in recent years. Cold water helps relieve muscle pain and fatigue, reduce inflammation, and decrease muscle spasms.

5. Aids Weight Loss: Cold showers make the body expend more calories. Studies have found that long-term cold showers might help develop a leaner physique.

6. Enhances Scalp and Hair Health: Cold water can close hair follicles. Rinsing hair with cold water can protect the scalp and hair follicles, reducing hair loss and promoting scalp health.

Although cold showers have many apparent benefits, most people prefer hot showers. Besides making the body feel cold, cold showers have the following drawbacks:

1. Increased Cardiovascular Risk: Blood vessels are highly sensitive to temperature. When cold water hits the body, the circulatory system accelerates to maintain normal body temperature. This can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke for people with poor cardiovascular health.

2. Discomfort: Fundamentally, most people find cold showers uncomfortable. Many office workers return home late in the evening, and taking a cold shower close to bedtime might affect sleep.

Is It Good to Take a Cold Shower After Exercise?

While many professional athletes undergo cryotherapy after intense workouts, it is not recommended for the general public without medical supervision to take a cold shower immediately after strenuous exercise. The reason is simple: after intense exercise, body temperature is still high. Rapidly cooling down with a cold shower can stimulate the blood vessels, causing them to contract quickly and significantly increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Moreover, people with colds should avoid cold showers. During a cold, the body is in a weakened state, and the immune system is unstable. Cold showers can be too stimulating and may hinder recovery. From a traditional Chinese medicine perspective, taking cold showers in the summer can cause the skin's pores to contract, reducing heat dissipation efficiency and potentially leading to a so-called "summer cold."

How to Take a Cold Shower?

If you want to try taking a cold shower, don't foolishly turn the water to its coldest setting and drench yourself. Blood vessels are sensitive to temperature, so follow these steps for a gradual approach:

1. Start by rinsing your limbs with water slightly cooler than warm and gradually work towards the center of your body.

2. When lowering the water temperature, take deep breaths to ease discomfort.

3. After showering, dry off thoroughly before entering an air-conditioned room.

Who Should Avoid Cold Showers?

Cold showers are not suitable for everyone. It is recommended that people with the following conditions avoid cold showers to prevent any danger:

- Cardiovascular disease patients

- Autoimmune disease patients (cold showers may disrupt the immune system and worsen symptoms)

- People with colds

- People who have just completed intense exercise

- Elderly individuals and children with weaker immune systems



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