As I have said before, to be an optimized human you do not need to drink some magic potion or have something implanted in your brain. Human optimization is all about unlocking the potential that our body and mind naturally have. This all comes down to figuring out how to live your life to let this potential out. The core of human optimization is finding the healthy stressors that trigger a natural response in the body. There are many ways of doing this, but in this article, I will highlight a technique that I have been using lately to give me more energy, boost my immune system, enhance my mood, and recover quicker from workouts.
In a world where comfort is all around us, it is hard to get a little shock of life. What if I told you that you could get this shock with 2 minutes or less of discomfort a day? Here come cold showers! I know that the thought of taking an ice cold rinse probably gives you goosebumps, but the short time of cold can lead to many benefits.
- Natural Energy Boost
- Improve Immune System
- Healthy Hair and Skin
- Increases Fat Burning
- Muscle Recovery
- Eases Stress
- Relieves Depression
What I have experienced
I am two weeks into taking at least one cold shower a day. It is a shock, but my body seems to be adjusting as it is getting easier. The biggest benefit I find is the stress relieving effects along with the boost of energy I get with the cold therapy. It is especially useful later in the day when I don’t want to drink caffeine, but I still have a lot to do. Also, after a long day at the office, the cold shower seems to wash away the stress from the day and give me the energy to enjoy my afternoons and write articles like this. Below I will dive a little into the science of the two benefits I enjoy the most from cold showers.
A study in 2007 tested the hypothesis that cold immersion with showers will actually alleviate depression symptoms and enhance the mood of test subjects. The study showed that small stressors such as temperature change stimulates your sympathetic nervous system. This increases the blood levels of endorphins and adrenaline. Basically, the cold water makes your body increase the neurotransmitters that make you happy and relieves our perceived stress. Check out the study here
It is definitely a shock to jump under a cold stream of water. This stress will cause your body to naturally breath heavier and kick up blood flow to regulate the body’s temperature. This will slightly increase the heart rate and the uptake of oxygen throughout the body will increase alertness. In the afternoons I find that just 20-30 seconds of a cold shower is all you need to get these benefits. This is much more beneficial than drinking a cup of coffee in the afternoon. The caffeine in the coffee will sit in your system and affect your sleep cycle. Opt for the cold shower, be productive, and then get a good night’s sleep for a more productive tomorrow.
How I do it
There are a lot of different ways that you can do cold showers and most will bring about benefits. I choose to start with a normal shower and end with the cold therapy. When I am done with my normal shower duties I step out of the water, turn it as cold as possible, and then jump back in for 2 minutes. Make sure you are still able to breathe and move around to cover the whole body in the cold. I promise if done consistently you will start to adjust and it will get easier.
I can not say enough good things about cold showers. The couple minutes of discomfort pays dividends in the long run for many aspects of human optimization. It has allowed me to be happier and more productive throughout the day. I hope that you give it a shot and let me know what benefits you find. If you want to go deeper on the other benefits of cold showers check out this article. Thank you for reading.
With Big Love,