In Part 1 of this series, we learned about cold water therapy and how to implement it into our daily routine. Today, we are going to learn why we need a good dose of cold water boost our spirits.
The benefits of cold water therapy are infinite. Throughout history legions of men (and women) have engaged in some sort of cold water training and conditioning. From the ancient tough as nails Spartans, to the elite level athletes and warriors of today, cold water therapy has been a prominent part of history and is enjoying a resurgence among today’s men of men.
Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of cold water therapy, shall we?
1- Recovery: This is the most obvious benefit for the hard training athlete or even a gym rat like myself. Indulging in a cold shower or ice bath after a hard training session has been long known to accelerate recovery and fight the onset of muscle soreness. Exercise is stress, plain and simple, and a hard, heavy session with the weights is extreme stress. Most understand that when the body is under stress, it causes inflammation, and the number one remedy is ICE.
Stepping into a cold shower or sitting in a bath full of ice water after training has been practiced by the best of the best for good reason. It makes you feel alive again after you leave the weight room glowing and sweating with an overall warm feeling throughout your body. I can’t count the times when I have stepped into the cold shower after training and walked out feeling like a million bucks with a diminished sense of muscle soreness the next day.
2- Boosts your Mood: I have not read any official studies on this, but based on my personal experience, I can say that cold water therapy will boost your mood and elevate your spirits. Taken first thing in the morning, the rush of cold water will initially take your breath away, waking you up in short order. There have been many times I could not get myself going in the morning and did not want to do anything. After the cold water cure, I felt like a fat stack of hundred dollar bills and was positive, upbeat, and ready to tear the world a new one. Previous writings have indicated that therapists used cold water therapy for curing depression.
3- Skin, Hair, and Immune System: Contrary to popular belief, warm and hot water is not good for your skin. In fact, it dries out your skin and makes your hair brittle and dry. Since I shave my head, I cannot speak to the softness of your hair from taking cold showers, but I can say that I have noticed that my skin is in much better condition and is not as scaly and dried out. I frequently get heat rashes and dry spots on my body, especially during the summer months. When implementing cold showers, I have found that my skin is much more manageable.
For centuries, the Russians and others from Eastern Bloc countries have used cold water as a form of body tempering to boost their immune system. These are the people I spoke of previously that jumped into an ice covered lake in the middle of frigid winter as a way of fighting off the common cold and flu. I cannot say for sure if this is the sole reason, but I can say that I have not had a cold for 4 years now. I have been using cold water therapy off and on for about 3 years. Coincidence? Maybe, maybe not.
4- Testosterone Boost: It has been pointed out in the past that cold showers can elevate your testosterone levels. Men build testosterone in their testicles and they are meant to stay cool. When the heat comes on, your testicles get very warm and produce sweat between your legs. By exposing the testicles to cold, the theory is that they become more efficient at producing testosterone, thereby elevating strength, muscle mass, and libido.
This sounds great in theory, but I am always suspect of things that drastically increase testosterone levels. I can say that by implementing cold water therapy, and focusing on keeping the testicles cool, especially in the summer months, I notice an overall elevated and motivated well being as well as a high sex drive.
In the future, I would love to test this theory with before and after blood work and report back on the results. (I’m kind of a nerd for experiments)
5- Mental Toughness: Possibly one of, if not the most sought after and heralded benefit of cold water therapy is that of mental toughness. It has been said that from the days of the mighty Spartans, cold water has been used to increase mental toughness. Hot water was looked at as a luxury and for the weak of mind and body. The Spartans would test their will and mental toughness to the breaking point with the sparse, minimal practice of using freezing cold water exclusively.
If you are not a believer in cold water therapy to build mental toughness, I challenge you to step up to the plate and see for yourself. The act of taking the plunge so to speak is a daunting task if you are not conditioned to it. After time though, you develop a fondness for cold water over warm or hot water. This practice will focus your energy and mindset to kill it every day!
There you have the top five benefits of cold water therapy gentlemen. Be bold! I challenge you to try the cold water cure for yourself and see the results first hand. If there are other glaring benefits of cold water therapy that I did not cover, or if anyone has verified their test levels with blood work, feel free to sound off in the comments section.
Rise up and Stay Strong!!