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As a mom, long baths are a thing of the past. So, how do you maximise the goodness of that five-minute window for cleanliness and relaxation? Discover what is more beneficial for your body and mind, hot showers or cold showers.
The moment you step in for 5-10 minutes of peace and solitude in the shower, your baby either wakes up and starts crying. Or, if you have older kids, they are at each other’s throats! So how do you get the most out of that limited time? How do you choose between a cold and hot water shower?
Hot Vs. Cold Shower
Some of us eagerly look forward to our hot shower first thing in the morning. But some others like it cold. Hot and cold showers are both popular; however, how can you be sure you are making the right choice for your age and heath? Strange as it may seem, the kind of shower you take has a big impact not just on your day but also on your overall wellness!
Let’s compare hot and cold showers so you can make an informed choice.
Benefits of Cold Shower
1. Makes you more alert and energetic
Showering in cold water increases alertness. When you step into one, you can’t help but take deep breaths, which increase the flow of oxygen to the body and release a rush of blood that keeps you energetic and awake. Take a cold shower and you’ll feel pepped up through the day and energetic enough to handle anything that comes your way.
2. Protects your skin and hair
Cold showers are also beneficial for your skin and hair. They help hydrate you and tighten your cuticles and pores. For people with dry skin, hot water can exacerbate the problem, which is why experts advise toning the temperature down.
3. May help you burn fat
When you take a cold shower, you activate your body’s brown fat. This is a heat-generating kind of fat that actually burns energy! So, during a cold shower, your body ends up burning more calories by activating this brown fat. We think this is one of the coolest benefits of cold showers, don’t you?
Did you know: Another way to lose weight through ‘cool’ therapy is by placing an ice pack on your upper back and chest for 30 minutes daily.
Watch: How to Burn Fat By Taking a Cold Shower Every Day!
- When you are exposed to the cold, it mimics the effects of exercise and fights against obesity!
- A cold shower is one way of losing fat without actually engaging in exercise. Another thing you can use is a big glass of ice cold water on an empty stomach (in the morning)
4. Can even cure depression!
Doctors often recommend cold showers as a treatment for depression. The cold water sends electrical impulses to the nerve endings in the brain. This produces an anti-depressive effect and makes cold showers an effective mood lifter. In fact, doctors often recommend 2-3 short cold showers in a day for people suffering from depression.
5. Promotes muscle repair after workout/exercise
If you are into daily exercise (which, by the way, is amazing), cold showers are what you need. The cold water prevents the swelling and pain which often follow a strenuous workout, and helps your muscles repair.
6. Bonus benefit – this one is for your husband!
Scientists have now established that taking a cold shower has a positive effect on the levels of testosterone, the male sex hormone! This means a happier and, err, naughtier sex life!
Disadvantages of Cold Shower
1. Difficult during the winter
Goes without saying, cold showers aren’t for everyone or for all weather! Taking a cold shower in the cold winter months can be a very unwelcoming thought.
2. Not recommended during illness
If you are unwell, it is not recommended to take a cold shower. The body needs the heat from a hot shower for faster healing and rejuvenation.
Benefits of Hot Shower3. Relieves cold and nasal congestion
Hot showers are beneficial for you if you have a cold and congestion. The hot steam is a natural decongestant and unclogs nasal passages. If you’re not feeling so good, step into the bathroom and shower in hot, steamy water. Have somebody reliable look after the kids if you’re feeling unwell, and spend time inhaling the steam in the bathroom.
4. Provides stress relief
One of the biggest benefits of hot showers is that they are a great tension reliever for stressed moms. They increase your oxytocin levels and ease anxiety. Have hubby or your mom babysit the kids for half an hour, and just let the water beat down on you in thick streams. You’ll be ready to face the day!
5. Cures muscle stiffness and body aches
If you’re feeling stiff and have cramps, the benefits of a hot shower become clear. It can work wonders on your body. A powerful showerhead throws down strong streams of water that can work as a massage to relieve the stiffness of your muscles. Showering in hot water also relieves any soreness you may be feeling anywhere in your body, whether during your period or otherwise.
Disadvantages of Hot Shower
1. Harmful for your hair and skin
This is perhaps the biggest disadvantage of a hot shower. The hot water can be very drying for your hair and skin, leaving you with dry skin and split hair-ends.
2. Increases risk of skin breakouts
Hot showers tend to open your skin pores which means there is a greater likelihood that debris and dirt will accumulate. This makes you vulnerable to skin conditions and problems.
Confused between Hot and Cold Water Shower?
So, both hot and cold showers seem to have their own merits and demerits. Which one to choose? Here is a quick test to help you decide:
- Age: If you are older than 40, it may be advisable to bathe with lukewarm water. For people under 40, cold water is recommended
- Time: If you shower in the morning, choose cold water. For the evening, a hot water shower is recommended.
- Health: Choose hot water if you are suffering from illnesses like cold, cough or joint pain. According to the ancient science of Ayurveda, people with liver disease, indigestion, etc., should bathe with cold water. Also opt for cold water if you have skin problems like dermatitis or breakouts.
- Habits: If you have an active lifestyle and engage in daily exercise, a cold water shower is better for you.
That’s it! Choose between a cold water vs. hot water shower depending on the need of the hour. Quick Tip: You could also take a hot shower, followed by a 2-minute cold splash. You’ll reap the goodness of both in no time!
How to Shower According to Dermatologists
Now that you have made your choice between a hot and a cold shower, time to get going! Hot or cold, it is important to shower in the correct manner to reap all its health benefits. We have brought you some expert tips on showering, straight from dermatologists.
- Don’t shower for too long. Prolonged water exposure can lead to dry skin and hair. If you have any skin conditions like dermatitis, keep the showers even shorter. Dr. Lauren Ploch, a board-certified dermatologist with the American Academy of Dermatology, recommends “keeping showers to five minutes or less. Don’t stand under water for minutes at a time.”
- Don’t wash your hair too often. This is truer if you have coloured hair, which tends to be drier. Washing twice a week is usually considered adequate
- Shower top to bottom so the soap can work its way down your body. Bonus tip: If you are prone to acne, condition your hair first and then cleanse your face, chest and back
- Shave at the end of the shower. If you shave your body hair, do it at the end of a short shower so your hair is damp but not swollen from heat/steam
- Pat your skin dry instead of rubbing it with a towel. Focus on drying sensitive areas such as the groin, between toes and other skin folds
- Never forget the moisturiser. Moisturise within a few minutes of showering so you can create a barrier between your skin and the air, thus preventing moisture loss
A shower is your personal time that you need to keep aside for yourself to relax and rejuvenate. Make the right choice based on your health and personal needs, and reap the many benefits of showering. Happy bath-time!