Hot or Cold Shower: Which has more Benefits

Every time you hit the shower in the morning, after working out, in the evening or at your most preferred time you most likely ask yourself what temperature is suitable. Hydrotherapy has been around for quite a while for management of various conditions like arthritis. Key among the factors determining the outcome of hydrotherapy is water temperature. Choosing the right temperature for your shower is important for your health. Both cold and hot showers have their pros and cons as tabulated below.

The Pros and Cons of Cold Showers

Pros

Cons

Healthy heart

Not good for sick individuals

Calming effect

Not ideal for very cold months

Reduces muscle pain after working out

Potential to increase stress

Increases alertness (boosts willpower)

Potentially help in weight loss

Pros

Cold showers have been scientifically shown to have health benefits. Cold showers cause vasoconstriction which reduces blood flow to the skin but this increases the heart rate as the heart has to pump harder due to constricted blood vessels, hence a healthy pumping heart. This can also help prevent cardiovascular diseases. The calming effect that comes after a cold shower cannot be downplayed. Cold water (even ice baths) has numbing effects and regenerative properties that can reduce muscle pain after workouts and improve muscle health as a result. After a cold shower, you generate heat by burning fat, this can result in weight loss if done long enough. Cold showers can also boost your willpower!!! Many people fear cold showers, mastering the courage to take a cold shower, especially in the morning, can help improve your willpower and ability to face challenges. 

Cons

Taking cold showers is not advisable for sick individuals as it may exacerbate their conditions. Avoiding cold for those with flu’s and allergies is important for their well-being. The fear that arises when individuals take cold showers can lead to build-up of cortisol-the stress hormone. Different individuals handle the stress of showering with cold water different.

The Pros and Cons of Hot Showers

Pros

Cons

Opens up pores allowing the skin to breathe

Potentially damage skin

Great for muscle relaxation

Hot showers cause vasodilation which increases blood flow to the skin, this can have cardiovascular benefits in people with cardiovascular problems like heart failure. Further, hot showers have been shown to cause muscle relaxation due to sufficient blood flow as a result of vasodilation. 

On the downside (Cons), hot water can potentially damage skin as the heat from the water drains out moisture from the skin leaving it dry and fragile. Hot showers can also worsen skin conditions like eczema.

In conclusion, both cold water and warm water have their benefits and disadvantages. However, cold water seems to have more benefits compared to hot showers. For athletes and healthy individuals, it is recommended to take cold showers. Contrast showers are also a possibility. 

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