There’s no better feeling than taking a warm shower after a chilly morning session. Well, except for the feeling of taking an ice cold shower after a long day at the beach in the blistering sun. You see, although the title of this article is a little over dramatic, there is a bit of a debate involved. However, aside from which temperature you prefer, hot and cold showers each have actual healthy benefits and consequences. Below are quick summaries for each side of the argument. Read, discuss, debate. Feel free to make your own case in the comments section.
-Hot showers can help relieve muscle soreness and stiffness, especially after sitting on a surfboard all day. The heat helps relax tight muscles, which can alleviate pain and discomfort. Have solid water pressure? Even better. The pressure from the water can act like a gentle massage, loosening those stubborn knots.
-The steam from a hot shower can help you clear out your water logged sinuses. Whether you’re experiencing decongestion from a cold, or you’re sinuses are teeming with saltwater, the steam can help relax and open up the nasal passages. Then you can let it all drain out…
-A hot shower is one of the best ways to shake off a deep chill. After surfing on a misty, damp day, it can be difficult to get your body temperature back up to normal, and your toes and fingers may have a difficult time defrosting on their own. Not only can this lead to accidents, but there is evidence that exposure to cold temperatures can suppress the immune system. The sooner you can warm up with a hot shower, the better.
-A number of studies have shown that taking a hot shower can help lower your stress level. These studies found that hot showers stimulate the brain’s release of oxytocin, which can reduce stress and ease anxiety.
-Hot showers are no good for your skin, as they can be super drying. Not only is that a bad thing for your appearance, but your skin is your body’s first line of defense, so it’s important to take proper care of it. Hot water is also drying for the hair, which can cause scratchy split ends.
-Cold showers can help you wake up in the morning and fall asleep soundly at night. The cold serves as a jolt to wake you up as you climb out of bed, and it increases your awareness. On the flip side, our body temperatures drop as we fall into a deep sleep. Lowering the body temperature with a cool shower before bed can make it easier to doze off into a sound slumber.
-The cool water can act like an ice bath, and it can speed up muscle repair and recovery after a hard workout or a long surf session. It can also ease delayed-onset muscle soreness.
-A cold shower can improve circulation. The jolt of cold encourages blood to rush toward the organs, which can help get vital nutrients to these parts of the body. The stimulation also helps pump blood more efficiently and clear arteries and blood vessels.
-Cool temperatures can also stimulate weight loss. The body essentially produces two types of fat: white fat and brown fat. White fat is what is stored when we consume more calories than we burn, and it is the kind of fat we struggle to lose. Brown fat is the healthy fat that our bodies need to stay warm. Cold showers help promote brown fat activity, which can encourage the loss of white fat.
-Cool showers are less drying, and they promote healthy skin and hair. They also cause the pores to close up, which helps keep out dirt and grime.
-Cold showers can help ease depression. The intense shock of the cold water can send a jolt of electrical impulses from the peripheral nerve endings to the brain. This offers an anti-depressive effect and helps boost mood.
-If you’re cold, a cold shower certainly isn’t going to warm you up. This is not a good thing for the immune system if you’re already drying off after a freezing morning session.