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Are Cold Showers Really All That Healthy For You?

Having a shower can be one of the most pleasant experiences of the day. The feeling of all that warm, soapy water cleaning off sweat and dirt is great, something that can be even better if you come in cold and wet after outdoor activities like sports or a long hike.

Now it is autumn, many will be keen on doing this every time they step over the threshold. But could there still be value in taking cold showers, even as the weather cools?

The idea of the cold shower is often associated with a desire to reduce certain physical desires, but there can be much more to it than that, with some genuine health benefits.

Speaking to the Just One Thing podcast, TV Doctor Michael Moseley said that there is much to gain from cold showers.

Explaining the benefits of being in cold water that some get from swimming in open water, he remarked this can "boost your mood, lower stress, improve your cardiovascular health and strengthen your immune system". 

However, since many people do not live near the coast or a convenient (and clean) river, lake, or lido, he said these benefits can also be conferred by a cold shower. He noted that one study indicated that having a 30-second cold shower 60 days in a row could reduce sick days by 30 per cent.

Men’s Health Magazine’s partners at Prevention.com put such claims to the test a few years ago. The writer experimenting with them for five days found it helped him with clear thinking, motivation and the development of willpower (not least to do it in the first place).

His verdict? “I don’t like taking cold showers, I just like the way they make me feel after I’ve already dried off.”

You may feel likewise, but one thing you should look for in any shower is great temperature control. That way, you can get just the temperature you like, whether you want to gain the physical and psychological benefits of a cold shower or the delicious feeling of a hot one.

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