If you’re anything like me, you probably need lots of energy to achieve your goals. Over the last four years I have really concentrated on this aspect of my life and as many of you know have transformed my sleep patterns, diet, and exercise regime. With those foundations in place, I’m constantly on the lookout for anything that will produce that extra bit of energy to improve my performance and protect my mental fitness. Which brings me to cold showers!

I was talking to my nephew about a month ago. He’s a big open water swimmer and swears by cold showers so I literally took the plunge. Before I tell you how I fared, here’s a quick overview of the benefits[1]. According to Wim Hoff, the godfather of cold-water bathing, they include:

  1. More robust immune response – ok, I’ll buy that. If I’m ill less, then I’m going to be performing better in my life. The science behind this is that cold showers increase the amount of white blood cells in your body which are well known to protect you against diseases.
  2. Increased levels of alertness – a cold shower is going to wake you up. That is irrefutable but the science behind it is also sound. The cold stimulates you to take deeper breathes (I can vouch for that!) which decreases the CO2 in your body which in turn helps you concentrate.
  3. Reduced Stress levels – need some of that in my life. The science behind this is that cold showers impose a small amount of stress on your body which leads to a process called ‘hardening’ i.e., your nervous system gets used to handling moderate amounts of stress. Which means that the next time you find yourself in a stressful situation you’re more likely to keep a cool head – no pun intended.
  4. Increased will-power – now you’re talking. I need more will-power and the logic feels sound to me. It takes a strong mind to endure the cold water for even two minutes so by doing it daily you’re increasing your willpower.

Which gets me back to my cold showers. Three weeks in and I have to say they’ve been a revelation. I won’t lie it was very difficult to begin with. I started really slow. Really, really slow but have worked my way up to a 2-minute cold shower at the end of my regular shower. Whilst it is perhaps too early to conclusively say whether I’ve achieved every benefit cited above, the main ones so far are:

  1. I definitely feel more alert. Obviously during the shower! But also, for a good two to three hours afterwards which is great because I’m an early riser, regardless of how I feel. Anything that gets me focused sooner is a big benefit.
  2. I do feel more energetic in the same way I feel after exercise. Blood pumping, skin tingling, increased concentration.
  3. But perhaps the biggest benefit for me is that it’s a daily and very physical reminder that achieving anything, requires small, often invisible steps, that very quickly add up to something tangible. And I can relate that to my goals. I’m writing a book at the moment. It’s a big goal and like any big goal can, on any given day, feel insurmountable. The only way to achieve it is to break it down; word by word, sentence by sentence and soon you have a page. Then a chapter and before long a book!

So, over to you. Anyone willing to take the cold shower challenge?

[1] Source – https://www.wimhofmethod.com/benefits-of-cold-showers