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Cold Showers. Feel Bad. Make You Feel Amazing

Cold Showers. Feel Bad. Make You Feel Amazing

There are only two rules I have when I write posts for this blog. First, anything I recommend I actually have to have done myself. Secondly, in doing it, I have found an exceptional benefit.

Then of course there are the advisory guidelines I work by. I like what I advocate to challenge conventional wisdom (in a positive way) and to provide a better way of doing things than what people are currently doing.

People do stuff in a certain way because they were taught a certain way. That way isn’t necessarily the best way of doing things.To have an intellectual curiosity about what you do and see if you can improve performance based on tweaking what you to do is something essential.

The other guideline I have is that the things I advocate should be easy to implement for the benefit they give. I’ll grant you that HIIT (Tabata and the like), is not easy to do, but it is easy to implement.

What I mean by easy to implement is relatively cheap, and not super time consuming. For example, an hour massage after a hard workout is great for you. However, unless you are a professional athlete, you probably can’t afford that hour in your week and you probably also don’t want to put aside the cost of massage from your weekly budget either.

Now, one of the things I have tried before but rejected because it was appallingly unpleasant, was cold showers. However, watching a Joe Rogan podcast with the often mentioned Rhonda Patrick convinced me to try again. OK the focus of this was in fact cryotherapy, something I have yet to try, but the principle is the same. (by the way, Cryotherapy is on my list of things to do. When I do try it, I will let you know how it feels).

The idea is that when your body is shocked by cold, it releases norephinephrine. To do this you have options. There immersion in cold water, or an ice bath. There is the aforementioned cryotherapy. And then there is the quick and dirty option – turning off the hot tap in the shower.

Yes it’s bracing. However,in my experience it works. What I mean by works is that I feel better from it. Of course, “feel better” is rather vague. What do I mean by that? Well I have more energy. I feel more focused. I feel more driven.

Why would this be happening just from a simple cold shower? Well we have mentioned norephinephrine. But what does it do? Well it’s a neurotransmitter – a chemical responsible for the transmission of signals across the synapses of the brain. it’s responsible for feelings of alertness… wow, really? I already figured that out.

Norepinephrine is also strongly anti inflammatory. In general terms, inflammation is a bad thing. Anything to reduce inflammation is good.

There is also suggestion that it actually aids in the regrowth of synapses of the brain. I heard this on the podcast.

Now the thing is, I don’t know what the reason is for me feeling the way I do, I don’t know if I am raising my levels of norepinehrine or  I just know that I feel very good, and what I feel aligns with what the literature says that norepinephrine is supposed to do for you.

I don’t just charge into a cold shower by the way. I am not that brave. The way I do it is a technique that is well known in sports circles for recovery,  a contrast shower. This is where I start with a standard hot shower and then turn the tap off part way through. I then turn on the hot water again, followed by finishing off with a final burst of cold at the end of the shower.

I also know that in 2 weeks I have gone from dreading that sudden splash of cold to needing it every day, just to feel the benefits. Now it’s not easy to begin with, but once you persist for a week at least, you will find you can’t go through your day without the energy and focus you get. Frankly, I wouldn’t even recommend this if I didn’t think the benefit far outweigh the unpleasantness.

 

 

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1 Comment

  1. WILL

    You have some good stuff up on this blog. Not sure how much traffic you get but well done.

    Reply

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