Author Topic: Cold showers  (Read 22969 times)

Offline Patrea

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Re: Cold showers
« Reply #30 on: April 14, 2011, 01:59:33 AM »
Yes hot is as challenging as cold - it is the stressor that matters. Ideally to the point of pronounced discomfort - not actual pain.
Interesting for me is the mental side too, the challenge each time.

Weight loss is about diet, so I would not expect progress in that area

Offline shadowfoot

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Re: Cold showers
« Reply #31 on: April 14, 2011, 04:10:12 AM »
Patrea,

I agree with you about the mental challenge. I have been taking cold showers almost every day for close to eight months now and I still have to mentally prepare myself every time.

Offline costello

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Re: Cold showers
« Reply #32 on: November 08, 2011, 09:23:01 AM »
I read shadowfoot's post about still having to mentally prepare every day after 8 months of cold showers, and it worried me a little. I wanted to say, though, that I've been taking cold showers every morning for 2 or 3 weeks now and I'm finding it much easier. Occasionally I still hesitate a bit, but most mornings I just jump in there and do it. I guess I don't think about it too hard. That helps. I've also noticed I grab my wash cloth and hold it in front of me as I step under the water. As if that's going to help!   ;D

I don't know if it's getting easier, because I'm adjusting to the cold water more quickly or because I have enough experience now to know the first few seconds are the worst. You just have to wait it out.

Offline Todd Becker

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Re: Cold showers
« Reply #33 on: November 08, 2011, 10:47:16 AM »
I read shadowfoot's post about still having to mentally prepare every day after 8 months of cold showers, and it worried me a little. I wanted to say, though, that I've been taking cold showers every morning for 2 or 3 weeks now and I'm finding it much easier. Occasionally I still hesitate a bit, but most mornings I just jump in there and do it. I guess I don't think about it too hard. That helps. I've also noticed I grab my wash cloth and hold it in front of me as I step under the water. As if that's going to help!   ;D

I don't know if it's getting easier, because I'm adjusting to the cold water more quickly or because I have enough experience now to know the first few seconds are the worst. You just have to wait it out.

Hi Costello,

I'll chip in here that even after more than a year of cold showers, I still hesitate slightly befor stepping in, but I always tell myself to remember how good I always feel by the end of the shower. It's a bit like getting ready to pull off a Band-Aid, but actually better in that there is actually a good feeling after the cold shower, rather than a mere forgetting of the brief Band-Aid pulling pain.  

Now that we're heading into winter, my pre-shower hesitation is more pronounced, especially on cold, dark mornings. Sometimes I ask myself: "Are you sure you want to do this?"  But remarkably the post-shower afterglow and energizing effect is even better than usual!!  I think that is good confirmation of the opponent process theory.  I'd be interested to know if you or anyone else have had a similar reaction.

Todd
« Last Edit: November 08, 2011, 10:50:09 AM by Todd Becker »

Offline costello

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Re: Cold showers
« Reply #34 on: November 15, 2011, 12:35:50 PM »
I'm getting a little more nervous about the showers as colder weather approaches. As I said, I have no furnace and on really cold nights it's likely to get down in the 30's in my house. I assume that means some very cold showers ahead. How cold is too cold?

I've timed my showers at about 4 minutes. This morning I decided to push that a bit and stayed under the water somewhere between 5 and 6 minutes. It really is amazing how the water starts to feel ok as the shower progresses. The first couple of times it happened I thought the water had become warmer, but then I'd turn and hit my ear or hands and realized that it was still as cold as ever. That extra minute this morning was effortless. I was more concerned about wasting water than being too cold.   :P

Offline costello

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Re: Cold showers
« Reply #35 on: November 16, 2011, 06:46:21 AM »
This morning's shower was 8 or 9 minutes long - forgot to check the time until I'd been under the water a little while. I washed my hair so it took longer. I usually only wash my hair every 5 to 7 days, so I miss out getting my whole head wet daily. I'll probably start washing it more frequently, but I have very long hair, so it's 1) a hassle and 2) hard on the hair to be exposed to soaps more frequently. Getting the whole head wet is definitely more intense.

Offline Nino

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Re: Cold showers
« Reply #36 on: November 18, 2011, 01:21:10 PM »
I've experimented with cold showers twice a day, everyday for the past 2 months and have had some pretty interesting results.

1. My recovery time from intense workouts has shortened significantly. Before I started these showers I was running roughly 25 miles a week. Now I'm at 40 and have had fewer injuries and less muscle soreness than ever before. I've read some articles about cold showers increasing testosterone (which would account for the rapid recovery) but I haven't found any verifiable evidence of this.
       My Strength, size and definition have all increased noticeably as well

2. My body's ability to tolerate cold temperatures has also increased dramatically. Even with winter coming and making the water from my faucet near freezing, I still can stay in for roughly 15 miins before getting cold. Often times I have to chug Ice water prior to a shower to make it more time efficient. (At the beggining of this experiment I was only able to stand 5 minutes tops.)

3. I've noticed a strong increase in the amount of food I can eat without increasing my body fat %. I was already fairly skinny when I started this shower regement, but I've been able to increase my daily caloric intake by about 400 calories. (On top of what my workouts burn)

As someone who is very active, it has been a worthwhile endeavour. I've also noticed improvement in my sleep and energy levels.

On top of the cold showers I also make it a point to chug 500ml-1L of ice water twice a day. I've found that this invokes the same cold shock of a shower while slightly decreasing my apppetite. It also seems that the ritual of chugging ice water twice a day has a pyschological advantage of reminding me that I'm trying to stay in shape, and allows me to stay focused on having a healthy lunch or dinner.
(I usually chug ice water an hour prior to lunch, and an hour prior to dinner)

All in all, I highly reccomend it.

A question I want to pose to this discussion board is whether or not my increased tolerance for cold showers means it's affecting my metabolism less? I haven't physically noticed any differences that would illustrate such, but I'm curious if there's any science out there regarding cold tolerance.


Offline Todd Becker

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Re: Cold showers
« Reply #37 on: November 22, 2011, 10:50:53 AM »
Nino,

These are very interesting findings!

I have a few thoughts in response:

1.  The reduction in muscle soreness and improved recovery could be due to induced testosterone, but it could also be explained by other factors.  One very simple and likely explanation is that cold water reduces inflammation, which is why cold compresses are often used by athletes.  There may be additional effects, and if could be a combination of factors.

2.  I've experienced the same cold tolerance effect that you describe.  The more cold exposure, the greater the tolerance.  There is evidence that cold exposure increases adiponectin levels and stimulates the growth of brown fat (BAT), which helps with thermoregulation and cold tolerance.  [See the earlier discussion in this post]. Other explanatory factors could be neurological adaptation (receptor and neurotransmitter rebalancing) along the lines of the opponent-process theory of emotional/sensory adaptation.  Without controlled experiments, its hard to know the relative importance of these different potential causal explanations.  But we can at least acknowledge that tolerizing adaptation to cold does occur, even if we can't say for sure what drives it.

3.  The ice water chugging idea is something that Tim Ferriss advocates in the Four-Hour-Body.  (Perhaps that inspired you to try it?).  I haven't tried that myself yet -- perhaps I'll try.  I do drink quite a bit of water, either as plain water or in dilute herb teas, but it is generally room temperature, warm or hot.  I'm wondering whether the appetite suppressing effect you experience requires that the water be quickly chugged down -- or whether you could sip it over 5 or 10 minutes and get a similar effect.   I'm a bit hesitant to do a lot of rapid chugging, unless that is important.

Thanks,

Todd
« Last Edit: November 22, 2011, 10:56:18 AM by Todd Becker »

Offline Nino

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Re: Cold showers
« Reply #38 on: November 23, 2011, 11:25:52 AM »
Thanks Todd,

I assumed that it was probably a mixture of factors from the cold showers that contributed to a reduction in my recovery time.

I did learn about ice water chugging from the 4 Hour Body, since I drink a lot of water throughout the day as well, I figured I'd experiment with only drinking ice water.

To expand on my experience so far, ice water chugging has induced the same cold feeling as cold showers (without the necessity of getting in a shower) If I chug 500ml-1L of Ice water while I'm sitting at my desk at work, after 3-5 mins I'll start to shiver and the same refreshing cold feeling I get from showers will last anywhere from 20-90mins.

However I believe ice water chugging  is less effective than cold showers in some cases becuase if you're body temperature is even slightly warmer than normal (whether from physical exertion or being in a warm enviroment) it's much more difficult to induce shivering. The room temperature at my office is roughly 68-70F so its pretty cool.

For maximum cold effect, I recommend chugging as quickly as possible. As far as supressing your appetite, I've found slowly sipping ice water just effective as chugging it.  (I also reccomend not chugging ice water after large meals and only after smaller ones. The simple reason is that with all that food in your stomach you'll feel like a blimp after drinking all that water.)


Offline Torvald

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Re: Cold showers
« Reply #39 on: September 22, 2013, 03:09:01 PM »
Here's my cold-shower report:

I started taking cold showers on August 16 (about five weeks ago). I'm thin and have always disliked cold.

On the first day, I hyperventilated for the first minute or so. I was amazed that I had no power to control my breathing. I'd read that people drown not because they're bad swimmers but because cold shock triggers involuntary deep inhalation, and this brings water into the lungs. Well, now I *know* what that's about!

Once I was breathing normally, I washed my hair as quickly as possible and got out of there. I felt pretty invigorated for the next hour or so. I hoped that this was an "opponent process", and that future showers would make this invigoration period last progressively longer.

For the first few days, I kept my showers very short. Then I noticed that after a few minutes, the water felt *almost* warm. Hooray, thermogenesis! After that, I've usually gone about ten minutes, feeling no need to hurry.

Somewhat disappointingly, after those first couple showers, the invigoration after the shower has lasted for much less time, not more. I've even fallen asleep half an hour after the shower.

Various small things:

* I've only shivered on one day, about a week after starting. (I'm thin and normally shiver pretty easily.)

* While I haven't hyperventilated since the first day, I've found myself deep-breathing uncontrollably for the first 30 seconds or so each day.

* I haven't successfully measured the water temperature. (I tried putting a cooking thermometer into a cup of water from the shower, but I ended up convinced only that the thermometer was seriously miscalibrated.) I strongly suspect that it's warmer than the recommended 50ºF or 59ºF. The shower control mixes warm and cold water, and it's summer in the American Midwest.

* On a couple days, I went to the kitchen sink to pour some cold water to drink, put my hand under the faucet to sense when the water was cold enough, and found that it didn't feel cold to my hand even after I let it run a while. Without a thermometer, it's hard to say right now if that's because the water actually was warmer or my sensation of cold was shifted to lower temperatures.

* Even though I know full well that the water will feel fine after a couple minutes, I still feel a bodily revulsion before getting into the shower, which I have to overcome by willpower each time.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2013, 03:12:12 PM by Torvald »

Offline Todd Becker

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Re: Cold showers
« Reply #40 on: September 23, 2013, 07:35:51 AM »
Hi Torvald,

Thanks for posting on your experiments with cold showers.  Given that you are thin and are find the cold showers to be tough going, I would suggest using slightly water - something "lukewarm".   While many of us aim for water less than 60 degrees F, there is nothing magic about that.  Any water cold enough to cool the body will have some effect -- even at 70 or 80 degrees.   

It's better to find some balance that you can tolerate -- a balance between mild discomfort that induces thermogenesis and too severe a stress than you can't tolerate or that produces lingering ill effects.  On the other hand, the fact that the invigoration effect diminished over time suggests you are becoming adapted and could tolerate lower temperatures or longer times.   So I'd suggest experimenting with the water temperature and exposure time.

There is one observation of yours that I can't explain:  How cold showers could be making you sleepy.  This is exactly the opposite of what most people observe, namely that warm baths or shower promote drowsiness, while cold showers are like a strong cup of coffee.   If you find this effect continues, I'd like to hear more about it.

Good luck,

Todd
« Last Edit: September 23, 2013, 07:48:10 AM by Todd Becker »

Offline Torvald

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Re: Cold showers
« Reply #41 on: September 24, 2013, 05:01:09 AM »
Sorry I wasn't clear: I mean that *despite* being thin and averse to cold, I seemed to adapt very quickly. First day: hyperventilation. Second day: this isn't so bad. Fourth day and on: cold water actually feels almost warm after a few minutes.

I found it an amazing demonstration of how quickly and easily hormesis produces dramatic results.

Another interesting observation: even after five weeks, even after knowing that the water will feel fine after a couple minutes, I still feel my body rebelling against taking a cold shower before getting in. It always takes some willpower to override this and do it.

The cold showers remind me a little of when I used to perform improvisational comedy. Before my first show, I was absolutely terrified. Second show: pretty nervous before the show. It always took an act of willpower to go on stage, even after lots of success. Over time, a pattern emerged: if I was nervous before a show, it would go well. If I wasn't nervous (or rather, only a little nervous), I wouldn't perform as well. That brief experience of discomfort (fear, cold, whatever) seems crucial to the process (as you've remarked elsewhere).

Offline Torvald

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Re: Cold showers
« Reply #42 on: September 24, 2013, 05:10:55 AM »
There is one observation of yours that I can't explain:  How cold showers could be making you sleepy.  This is exactly the opposite of what most people observe, namely that warm baths or shower promote drowsiness, while cold showers are like a strong cup of coffee.   If you find this effect continues, I'd like to hear more about it.

Oops, I was unclear about this, too. I don't think a cold shower has ever made me sleepy. I tend to get sleepy during the day a lot. After the first few cold showers, the "post-shower invigoration period" seemed to shorten quite a bit, to the point where even half an hour later, the sleepiness (of unknown cause) was able to kick in.

Offline Torvald

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Re: Cold showers
« Reply #43 on: October 07, 2013, 03:15:00 PM »
Latest news on my cold-showering experiment:
  • One day a couple weeks ago, I got out of a cold shower at 7:00 p.m., and was asleep by around 7:15 p.m. (And woke up at 8:00 p.m.) This is most likely due to my grad-school-induced crazy sleep schedule—I can't believe that a cold shower would induce sleepiness—but I think it proves fairly well that the post-shower invigoration time has greatly decreased. Possibly the water isn't cold enough; I still haven't properly measured it.

  • I still find myself breathing deeply for the first thirty seconds to a minute. Not hyperventilation, just mild cold shock.

  • Possible gain of tummy fat?