Ice cold water. You might think it’s the stuff of torture. Reading the words might already be making you shiver. But there are many reasons to learn to love cold water. From beating depression and boosting libido to giving your skin and hair a gorgeous glow, there’s a reason so many enthusiasts are shouting from the glacier-tops about the difference turning the temperature down has made in their lives.
Human beings are made up of at least 50% water. The statistic varies slightly both with age and between genders. Adults lose water weight after childhood, and women have less than men due to a higher body fat ratio. With all of our cells depending on water, it’s clear that we can dramatically boost or harm our health depending on how much we consume. I challenge you to find a single skin care article out there that doesn’t include the phrase “drink lots of water.” And at the other end of the spectrum, did you know that the number one reason for the afternoon slump at your desk is dehydration?
We all know that keeping hydrated is vital. But what about the temperature of the water? Hot and cold water can be used for different reasons, but today we’re discussing the benefits of using the latter. Cold water isn’t something you want to welcome with a warm embrace. In fact, you’ll likely want to run in the opposite direction. However, there are plenty of benefits from introducing it into your life in one form or another. Here are 5 ways to do so, moving from “easy peasy” to “living life on the edge.”
Drink it. The easiest way to feel the benefits of cold water is to drink it. While the evidence is inconsistent, there are several case studies that indicate that drinking cold water is highly beneficial for the metabolism and weight loss. When we consume cold water, the body warms it up in a process known as thermogenesis. This takes energy, so while it won’t replace having a workout, drinking cold water has been shown to reduce BMI in overweight participants. Try to drink cold water as often as possible to benefit from this extra boost.
Look at it. Water in general is an incredible relaxation aid. The blue hues can be used as a form of color therapy to create a tranquil environment. The sound and sight of water is also stress-busting, anxiety-reducing, and able to induce a meditative state. If you have access to any kind of water, be it the beach, a lake, a pond, a stream or even a humble water feature, find a way to incorporate some time spent near it each day. If we’re talking specifically about cold water, consider time on the slopes on a ski break, or visiting one of our few remaining glaciers. Dramatic landscapes like that of Alaska or Iceland fill us with a sense of awe that puts things into perspective and refreshes our appreciation of Earth for all its dynamic offerings.
Wash hair with it. You might have heard it from your hairdresser already, but rinsing your hair with cold water really is the step you’re missing. Our hair is made of the protein keratin. The shaft (part exposed above our scalp) consists of three layers, the outermost of which is known as the cuticle. The cuticle can be compared to fish scales – overlapping layers of cells all facing downwards. Color and heat treatment cause the cuticle cells to get a bit messy, face different directions, and not lie smoothly. Conditioning treatments are an obvious way to remedy this, but so too is rinsing the hair in cold water. This process seals the cuticle, meaning it seals in any moisture you’ve applied. Condition, then rinse the hair in cold water to lock in moisture and give more strength and shine.
Shower in it. For those braver than restricting the ice-cold flow to the locks only, showering in cold water can have a plethora of benefits. A brave soul tried cold showering for 30 days straight and found that by week 2 her mood had increased and stress levels decreased. By week four, she was converted. Cold showers can give you the energy boost you might be lacking if you’ve decided to quit caffeine. It also releases adrenaline and endorphins in the brain which may play a role in helping with depression. It sounds counterintuitive to force yourself to take a cold shower on those mornings that you simply don’t want to do life, but it’s probably exactly what you need.
Swim in it. At the top of the list is cold water swimming. One step above showering, cold water swimming is an immersion therapy with a metabolism-boosting workout thrown in. It’s appealing to all ages for the excitement and tremendous health benefits. These include increased resistance to cold, relief from rheumatism and even asthma. It’s also been found to reduce stress levels and anxiety, namely by the rush of adrenaline caused from flinging oneself into an icy abyss. But with other great benefits like an increase in lymphatic and cardiovascular circulation, cold water swimming is a sure-fire way to boost our overall health. And while I can’t find any scientific evidence, it’s also believed to increase libido. I think this is probably due to an increase in happiness (happier people want to have sex more than unhappy people) but who can know for sure unless putting it to the test, eh?
If you’re looking for a way to jump-start your system this fall, why not try getting a little bit chilly? Stick with any of the above for a month and see how you benefit.
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