Hot Showers vs. Cold Showers: Which One is Best?
Showering is an essential part of a person’s daily routine, so much so that most of us take it for granted. We all know how hot we like the water to be and how long we like to take, and we don’t spend much time considering whether or not we should be doing it any other way.
Turns out, however, that there are benefits from taking cold showers which you can’t get by cleaning yourself off in hot or cold water. In this article, we break down the pros and cons of hot and cold showers, and why people might want to consider changing from one to the other.
The Benefits of Hot Showers
- Relieve muscle stress: Hot water can loosen tight muscles and relieve body tension, which is one of the reasons a hot shower feels so great after a long day’s work or when you’re suffering from stiff muscles.
- Help with cold symptoms: Another benefit of hot showers is that steam and warm water are decongestants. Hot showers open up airways, moisturize nasal passages, and break up phlegm.
- Reduce anxiety: In addition to relieving muscle stress, hot showers can also reduce mental stress. Some studies have found that exposure to hot water encourages the body to release oxytocin, a.k.a. “the love hormone,” which makes people happier and less stressed out.
- Cleanse the skin: Having trouble with blackheads, acne, and other skin blemishes? Hot water and steam open up the pores in your skin, making it easier to clean out the dirt and particles that get stuck in them.
- Help with insomnia: If you have trouble getting to sleep at night, the secret to curing your insomnia might be hot water. Since warmth relaxes the body, hot showers have been shown to help people get a better night’s sleep.
The Benefits of Cold Showers
- Burn fat and calories: According to a study conducted in Sweden, exposure to cold temperatures entices the body to burn off more fat and calories. When your body’s brown fat (sometimes called “good fat”) senses low temperatures, it starts burning extra calories to keep you warm. This decreases the amount of fat and calories being stored in your body.
- Boost recovery after exercise: There’s a reason that athletes take ice baths after their games. Cold water reduces muscle soreness and speeds up recovery times after strenuous physical activity.
- Increase alertness: Another benefit of cold showers is that exposure to cold temperatures increases alertness and reduces fatigue, thanks to the body unconsciously reacting to the sudden change in temperature.
- Don’t dry out your skin: As great as hot showers can feel, they have a habit of drying out skin and hair. Cold showers, on the other hand, actually help moisturize and hydrate the skin, and can even help with split ends.