Cold showers have been gaining more and more traction as of late. New trends in health and recovery always fascinate me, but a lot of the time there isn’t science to back up the claims. Cold showers are different in that sense. The science behind cold showers is fascinating. Cold showers actually cause the release of norepinephrine from the sympathetic nervous system. In other words, cold showers cause the release of the hormone that triggers the body’s fight or flight response. This is the feeling you get when faced with a scary situation or a confrontation. It’s an aroused state where you feel more mentally alert and awake. This is the reasoning behind suggesting cold showers in the morning. It immediately wakes you up mentally and physically as well. After a workout, cold showers can also be beneficial as they can get you out of that sluggish mental state that sometimes follows a hard training session. There is also another interesting aspect to cold showers that I haven’t seen touted by the health community yet, probably due to the small amount of research that has been done on it. According to a study published on the National Institute for Biotechnology’s website, cold showers could possibly even have an anti-depressive effect on the brain. This is due to the amount of electric impulses sent to the brain from receptors on the skin being exposed to the cold water. More research is needed on this subject, but cold showers appear to be much more than just a health trend. If you plan on starting cold showers, don’t expect to be able to jump right into it (literally). Ease into them and start with small increments of time. I felt the positive effects immediately (after I stopped shivering) and now that I know it isn’t a placebo, cold showers will definitely become a part of my routine.

Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17993252

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