Author Topic: Cold showers: heart attack risk and post-workout ahowers  (Read 7749 times)

Offline NickGrouwen

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Cold showers: heart attack risk and post-workout ahowers
« on: August 17, 2014, 04:18:07 AM »
Hi does anyone have more knowledge/information on the subject of possible risk of heart attacks from cold immersion, due to the thermal shock? Or do you simply adapt to the cold over a period of time which in turn lowers the risk after a while?

Also, I've read that cold showering immediately after exercise could be a  really bad idea because your body is hot and therefore exposing it to cold water will be very hard on the blood vessels and such and such Your thoughts on this? The logic is that if you take something hot and expose it to something cold, it'll crack/wear out.

Thanks :D cold showers have been rather easy for me to get into, despite all the hell and pain n hoopla that I keep reading about. Just let the water hit your most sensitive spot first (for most people probably the chest), get over the shock and the rest of the shower will be a breeze
« Last Edit: August 17, 2014, 04:20:32 AM by NickGrouwen »

Offline Todd Becker

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Re: Cold showers: heart attack risk and post-workout ahowers
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2014, 09:48:10 PM »
Nick,

There is no risk that you are going to "crack" when suddenly cooled in water;  skin and bone are not thermally brittle materials.  To fracture, you'd need to freeze yourself to subzero temperatures using fluids such as liquid nitrogen.

There is a small but finite risk of heart attack due to sudden vasoconstriction.  This is known as the "cold shock response":
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cold_shock_response
http://www.port.ac.uk/uopnews/2012/05/30/scientists-warn-swimmers-of-heart-attack-risk/

This is rare, but something to keep in mind if you have heart disease or are unadapted to the cold.  If you are concerned about this, start out with lukewarm water and gradually habituate to water that is progressively colder.  That way, you'll avoid the risk of cold shock.

Todd
« Last Edit: August 18, 2014, 09:50:28 PM by Todd Becker »

Offline NickGrouwen

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Re: Cold showers: heart attack risk and post-workout ahowers
« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2014, 02:50:04 AM »
Cool thanks Todd, yeah I didn't mean the skin and bones in particular but I believe I read about blood vessels popping and going into shock/coma and scary stuff like that when exposing your body to something cold when your body is hot fom the exercise.
I'm not so much concerned with it myself since I don't have any heart problems but it's still good to know. thanks!

Offline Tom

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Re: Cold showers: heart attack risk and post-workout ahowers
« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2014, 11:14:15 AM »
Good timing Nick. I'm actually working on similar topics so I thought I would chime in with an excerpt here:

The regular applications of hormetic cold stress enhances our ability to preserve and generate heat when it's called for. For example, it prompts the contraction of muscles underneath hair follicles, closing the pores and generating heat in a more efficient manner via the burning of the then-acquired brown adipose tissues (a.k.a brown fat). In addition, cold stress triggers vasoconstriction (i.e., the constriction of blood vessels), minimizing heat loss during blood circulation, subsequently redirecting the heat to only the vital organs, making the body more efficient in heat conservation. In general, hypothermic conditioning has important implications in immune activation, weight loss and longevity.

As for vasoconstriction, Todd has already spelled out the precaution there. It is also worth notice that in a study, people who suffered angina actually do better in terms of surviving from future heart attacks, which, again, reminds us of the old saying that "what doesn't kill us makes us stronger". 8)

You can also find out much more here.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2015, 08:00:25 PM by Tom »
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Offline NickGrouwen

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Re: Cold showers: heart attack risk and post-workout ahowers
« Reply #4 on: August 25, 2014, 10:24:00 AM »
Thanks Tom, yeah I guess it can't hurt me since I'm not pregnant (lol) or have heart problems.

It's getting a lot colder here in Belgium, yet cold showers don't seem to be more of a problem. Haven't had a hot showers in I don't know how long ago. My strartegy is just let it hit the chest first and if you really need to, keep rubbing your body (the rubbing REALLY helps generate some warmth to make the cold shower more bearable). I don't know if your supposed to stand still though, I don't know if the rubbing takes away from the benefits but I don't do it much anyways

One more question: is it normal to experience a tensed up neck doing cold showers? For some reason my neck really tenses up but it does go away soon after the shower ends.

Offline NickGrouwen

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Re: Cold showers: heart attack risk and post-workout ahowers
« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2014, 10:49:52 PM »
Thanks Tom, that's great information  :D

Offline NickGrouwen

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Re: Cold showers: heart attack risk and post-workout ahowers
« Reply #6 on: September 04, 2014, 10:24:13 AM »
Well good news my neck no longer tenses up, didn't really do anything special, I just kind of noticed the feeling disappeared one day and it hasn't bothered me ever since.