Today is the last day of the the 30-Day Cold Shower Challenge that I started at the beginning of the month. My goal was to take one cold shower (or at least a shower with one minute of freezing cold water) per day for 30 days. I am glad to say that it is finally over, and none of my limbs have fallen off from hypothermia.
Before I describe my experience, let's review some of the supposed benefits of taking cold showers:
- Better circulation and immunity
- Increased energy and alertness
- Healthier hair and skin
- Improved weight loss
- Speeds up muscle recovery after workouts
- Reduces stress
- Relieves depression
I have to say that this challenge wasn't a pleasant one for me. I did not warm up to cold showers or get accustomed to taking them, like I normally do in a 30-Day Challenge period. Even though it has been unseasonably warm this month, blasting my body with freezing cold water was quite a shock—every time.
I don't know if I experienced most of the aforementioned benefits, like improved circulation and immunity, healthier hair and skin, and stress/depression relief. I am not currently running or doing much intensive exercise because I have developed stress fractures in my feet from overtraining for my last half-marathon. In fact, I plan to take the next several months off from running and will be starting my running practice very slowly in autumn. So I don't have any firsthand experience of cold showers' ability to speed up muscle recovery after a workout.
I did experience some weight loss during this time, but I am simultaneously trying to eat healthier and walk 10,000 steps per day so it is possible that my weight loss is due to implementing those healthier habits. And I did notice brief periods of increased energy and alertness immediately after taking the showers. That last tidbit is impressive to me because I have also drastically reduced my caffeine intake mid-month, from four shots of espresso per day to one serving of green or black tea per day.
Currently, I don't have any plans to continue taking cold showers everyday, although it was definitely worth trying and I do think I'll include a cold shower from time to time. If this challenge piqued your interest, I suggest giving a cold shower challenge a try yourself!