Have you seen video’s of people throwing a bucket full of ice water over themselves?
If you haven’t, just youtube ‘Ice bucket challenge’.
You will find tons and tons of clips, from celebrities to politicians.
Besides the fact that they are doing something to raise awareness agains ALS.
They are also doing something which is actually good for their body.
“So you mean to say that throwing ice cold water over yourself is a good thing?”
To be more specific ice water is used for therapeutic reasons.
“Doesn’t ice cold water make you sick?”
Well, if done in moderation it does the opposite.
It makes you better.
And here is why…
There are several cultures around the globe with different traditions regarding ice cold water.
Most of these traditions find their origin in spiritual and health related areas.
We are not going to get spiritual here.
But what I am trying to say is that throwing yourself in ice cold water some kind of ice bucket challenge has been aroud for years.
For most people it is just a ‘bucketlist’ item.
They however are unconsicously doing something healthy at the same time.
They are using a form of therapy.
Hydrotherapy or therapy in which different temperatures of water are used to improve the health.
Cold Showers for Exercise and Injuries
We have all seen the image of an injured athlete putting an ice pack on his/her muscle to decrease the negative effects of the injury.
It’s an easy, cheap and effective way to immediately treat your muscles and stimulate recovery.
Cold water showers give you the same advantages over your complete body.
That’s why it is used by athletes around the word, especially during long competitions such as the Olympics to speed up muscle recovery.
In addition, exercise in the cold has shown to increase the burning of calories, because the body has to work harder to keep its temperature (Of course all of this should be done in moderation).
You won’t become more healthy by running through the rain butt naked while you are already feeling sick and have a fever.
The secret is putting your body under an amount of stress from which it can recover and improve for future stress
You want to challenge your body mentally/physically/emotionally not break it down.
Cold Showers: Other Benefits
More, cold water showers increase testosterone levels and blood circulation in the body.
Promising research has even shown that it can improve your emotional state and might help in treating depression.
Everyone who has ever had a cold shower can attest that getting out of the shower consqeuently leads to a flooding of the body with an energizing feeling.
Haha…I got asked this question, when I told one of my friends that I was taking cold showers.
I have to admit it, it sounds like a pretty reasonable question.
But while the cold can be good.
The ice cream itself is not (In most cases).
How to get started: ‘Cold showers 101’
Transitioning from a nice warm shower to a ice cold shower is easier said than done.
It can initially be a big shock for your system and you might not be prepared mentally.
My advice (based upon personal experiences) is to start of with a nice and warm shower and slowly decrease the temperatur of the water so your body can slowly get used to the shift.
Warning: This is NOT suitable for everyone, make sure you prepare yourself. People with heart disease, high blood pressure or fever should not take a cold water shower, think about the before mentioned point.
‘You want to test the muscle not tear it’.
Your body can only handle so much (You don’t want to end up looking like the guy in the picture).
For all the other people, this is how it is done:
1) Turn on the shower at a temperature which you would usually shower in
2) Sing your favorite song (If you usually sing in the shower and don’t sound like a crow)
3) Do your normal shower routine, shaving, shampoo etc.
4) Slowly turn down the temperature until it is completely cold
5) Stand underneath the shower and count to 10 slowly
6) Repeat this process every morning and build it up to 10/20/30/40/50/60 seconds depending on what you prefer. (Eventually you can take a shower below body temperature immediately.)
Time to cross that bucketlist item and do your own daily Ice Bucket Challenge!
You know what’s coming…
I hereby nominate…
ALL OF YOU!