Internet trends – we’ve all tried them and been either surprised, disappointed or confused.
Fast forward to the present, we have individuals indulging in cold baths for 30 days! Now being a gym and health fanatic myself, I would be lying if I said I was looking forward to this. Now someone told me (the internet) that there are extremely good health benefits which come with this ‘challenge’. I mean if improved immunity and circulation, stress relief, better mood, and relief of muscle soreness does not sound good to you, then you’re really living the high life.
So here we are, for a whole month I decided I will try my hand at this cold shower phenomenon to see if it was worth the hype. Did it make that much of a difference? Read on to find out.
Week 1: If my neighbours couldn’t hear me before, they can definitely hear me now. Nothing could’ve prepared me for what I was coming. The moment the first drop of ice-cold water landed on my back it was like a nightmare. The hardest part was breathing. After a quick google search, I found out it was to do with the receptors in your skin becoming stimulated due to the change in temperature – nice to know my skin and I aren’t in this together. After the first two minutes, you try to psyche yourself out by saying “it’s not that bad you know”, then the second wave hits.
Week 2: I won’t lie to you the breathing was hard, you’d think it’s easier by week 2 – well it’s not. The water, still freezing. My lungs, still struggling to breathe. My face, numb. All that aside, I have to say, I was feeling ten times better than usual and way more ready to take on my day when all was said and done.
Observations: My body felt a lot more energised in the morning compared to how I felt before I started this challenge. Stress – who is that?
One thing I have noticed is having a cold shower straight after my gym sessions has also aided muscle recovery and left me feeling a lot less fatigued for the rest of the day.
Before I moved into week 3, I had to take my challenge to Twitter and see if many people were on the same wave as me, turns out I wasn’t alone.
cold showers are the best thing in the world and nobody will ever change my mind.
— 𝖕𝖆𝖗𝖙𝖜𝖊𝖗𝖊𝖜𝖔𝖑𝖋 🌙🐺⛓ (@partwerewolf) December 5, 2020
Week 3: This week was the make or break. I’ve finally got used to the cold water hitting me which has caused the heavy breathing to subside, but I wouldn’t quite say I’m “singing in the shower” comfortable. It is only small but when I wake up a small part of me Is looking forward to it. I don’t want to sound too excited, but I think the shower has started to have an effect on me.
I feel way more energised in the morning especially after returning from an intense gym session. Not only that, but my physical features are also appearing to look cleaner. The acne on my face has begun to subside and my hair is feeling very soft. Two weeks ago, I would’ve called myself crazy but I’m kind of into this cold shower thing.
Week 4: In hindsight, I never thought that I would be stepping into a cold shower as care-free as I am now. All I can say is that I have most definitely got used to the ‘freezing cold’ feeling. In fact, I would go as far as to say that I thoroughly enjoy the showers to the point it has turned into my normal routine to shower this way. Although I have started to enjoy these showers, the feeling of warmth hit me the minute I turn that handle is unbeatable.
After Week 4 I decided to reach out to some close family members and friends to see if they would be brave enough to take on the challenge. Safe to say I’m not the only one brave enough to take on the blizzard!
Final observations: More than convinced!
As a person who firmly believes that these trends can produce positive benefits, I was optimistic that the outcome of this challenge would be as said. The first few things I can highlight as the most important benefits for me was the relief of muscle soreness post-gym. As a gym person (stated numerous times) the use of the cold shower after gym seriously put my muscles at ease. For the first time, I really felt as though my body was relaxed after the gym – no old man moaning from me.
Despite this, for obvious reason, I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone with serious health problems or people who want to use this as a way to fix their own health problems. For those of you reading this, you most likely want to hear about what the effects were on my skin – well they were minimal. From the research completed prior to this, I found out that one of the possible benefits would be clearer and brighter skin due to the effects of cold water splashing on the face.
According to Dr Emmanuel, he says, “locking in core temperature causes our skin’s pores to shrink, which can help improve the overall texture and appearance of the skin”. Unfortunately, not enough doctors’ quotes were going to force my skin to change but this does not mean that this benefit will not come to you.
So, if you are ready to get past that initial shock, tomorrow morning maybe think about turning the shower handle in the opposite direction for the first time, you may not regret it!
Words by Michael Patcha | Subbing: Ye Qiu