4 Surprising Benefits of Cold Water
You might already know that wild swimming is good for you and turning on the cold tap for the last few seconds of your shower has benefits, but do you know why or how just drinking cold water can help boost adrenaline? Read on to find out more.
It can help you lose weight
According to one study conducted in Norway, cold water immersion such as swimming or outdoor cold baths can help shed excess body fat. That’s because the cold temperatures trigger brown body adipose tissue, a type of good body fat that burns calories. It can also reduces insulin resistance which is often prevalent in people with obesity or those carrying excess weight. If you’re new to cold water swimming, don’t jump straight in. Instead build up to it slowly by starting with 15-second exposure bursts in a cold shower first, before gradually working your way up to more. The ultimate goal is several times a week. Although more research is needed, some experts believe that drinking ice cold water can temporarily improve your metabolism because your body uses a small number of calories in bringing it up to room temperature. According to a study by the University of Washington, you’d burn around eight calories more by drinking ice water than you would if you drank normal room temperature water. Although it’s certainly not way to burn lots of calories, if that’s your goal it might be worth bearing it in mind.
It can help you beat the afternoon slump
If you regularly find yourself struggling to keep your eyes open come 3pm but want to avoid mainlining caffeine, try dunking your hands and wrists in a sink of cold water, or at a push under the cold tap. The initial, and then prolonged, shock of the cold temperature stimulates your sympathetic nervous system or your flight or fight mode, which causes your heart rate to increase, adrenaline to pump and you to become more alert.
It can help ward of illness and infection
Weekly wild swimming or taking regular cold showers can help support your immune system and keep you in optimum health. Immersing your body in cold temperatures stimulates your lymphatic system, which is part of your immune system. The cold forces your lymph vessels to contract and pump lymph fluid throughout your body. This fluid is full of white blood cells called lymphocytes which help rid the body of waste and toxins and fight infection.
It can reduce anxiety
When exposed to very cold water your body experiences a cold shock response which triggers the release of stress hormones. Although this might be counterintuitive to anxiety, repeated immersion has been shown to create an acclimatisation effect that over time helps reduce the cold shock response and effectively keeping these stress hormones in a dampened down state. As well as this, exposing your body to cold temperatures boosts neurotransmitters that are responsible for helping you to feel good. rate. One study found regular cold water swimming increased dopamine levels by as much as by 530%.