More mental strength, faster recovery and a crystal clear focus - the cold shower promises a lot. You've probably come across a variety of cold thermogenesis techniques and practices on the internet. From Wim Hof's bath in ice, to Russian ice bathing, to cold showers, thermogenesis is slowly making its way into society. Here we show you what's behind the cold hype!
What is cold thermogenesis?
The term thermogenesis describes the production of heat in your body. Cold thermogenesis is the body's production of heat under the particular influence of cold.
Just a shower of 2-3 minutes at below 20 degrees will make cold thermogenesis work and you will experience the first benefits of cold. The body increases muscle activity under the influence of cold - ever shivered from the cold? - and speeds up metabolism, calorie consumption, digestion and much more. All these reactions ensure our survival.
Along with ensuring our survival should come increased mental toughness. We'll get into all the physical and mental benefits in a moment. Before we do, let's just try it out.
Our practical tips for cold thermogenesis in the shower
Just do it. So or so we hear it more often. While the jump into the ice water is more recommended for the advanced, we as beginners can start directly with the cold shower.
Whether you go straight from 0 to 100 or get used to the cold slowly depends on your personal preference. Even James Bond in Ian Fleming's books started warm and then reduced the temperature to below freezing.
Our practical tip is therefore: Do it like James Bond. Start with warm temperatures in the shower first and then turn it as cold as possible. Make sure you don't stand under the water for more than 3 minutes. After the cold shower, give your body some warmth again. Move your body to keep your circulation going.
Sometimes you have to end a cold shower early. If you feel dizzy or generally unwell, you should end the cold shower early.
The effect of the cold shower on body and mind
For some it's a joy, for others it's torture: the cold shower in the morning. Find out here what the cold shower really does from a scientific point of view.
Cold showers wake you up
Do you need a coffee to wake you up in the morning? How about a cold shower instead? The same positive effects without the negative side effects - learn more about caffeine addiction in our article here.
Of course, the cold shower takes more effort than the warm cup of coffee, but if you dare, you'll wake up immediately. The physiological effects of thermogenesis under the cold shower are scientifically confirmed: You'll go into the day more alert, focused, and mentally fit after such a cold stimulus.
Increased calorie consumption
Those who take cold showers consume more calories - on average up to 3% more per day. In a healthy state, our body has a temperature of up to 37 degrees. The body tries to maintain this so-called core temperature by all means and ways. In a cold environment such as under a cold shower, this requires significantly more energy than at room temperature. Even one minute under the cold shower increases the calorie consumption significantly. Your body is demanded a lot not to hypothermia, so the cold shower can even be a useful part of a dietary change.
Stimulated fat metabolism
Not just any calories are burned in the shower - studies have shown that the fat cells in particular, which convert energy into heat, are activated. Instead of storing fat, fat cells burn it to generate heat.
As a sole weight loss program, cold showers are obviously not enough. Here, strength training and a change in diet should be added.
More mental strength
To take a cold shower once in a while, you have to get over yourself and step out of your comfort zone. When you do this regularly, you develop an attitude of mental strength. You are able to leave your comfort zone and suffer for a higher goal even for a short time. People who regularly take cold showers are usually more satisfied with their lives, feel mentally stronger and suffer significantly less from depression.
Scientifically, cold showers can be explained as a natural mood enhancer, because the low temperatures activate the nervous system and stimulate, for example, the hormone noradrenaline. Messenger substances ensure that resilience is built up. Psychological resilience helps you to go through life better and mentally stronger.
Strengthening the immune system
Sick less often through cold showers - a study has shown that regular cold showers strengthen the immune system, or rather ensure that these people call in sick less often. The cold makes the body release more white blood cells; these have the fight against diseases as a goal. A stronger blood circulation causes a better nutrient supply, which puts our immune system in the best position to fight against diseases.
Help with regeneration
Out of action for several days due to sore muscles after a workout? Cold showers help you to regenerate after training. That's why cold thermogenesis has long been used in professional sports. The increased blood circulation allows the body to break down substances such as lactate more quickly, and the small injuries to the muscles heal faster. In addition to regeneration, cold thermogenesis also increases the athlete's performance, both physically and mentally. The next time after the training it is called: Off under the cold shower.
Swellings and inflammations should be cooled. Who doesn't know it: Even as a child, your parents would give you a cold pack if you bumped something. The increased blood circulation ensures that the pain subsides more quickly, while significantly reducing the speed of the nerve signals from the pain to the brain. Less pain and faster healing - next time you bump something, reach for the cold pack first and then take a cold shower.
Disadvantages of cold thermogenesis
Cold thermogenesis has a lot of positive effects on the body. Now does that mean it's for everyone? Not necessarily for everyone, there are a few disadvantages as well, which we will briefly explain here:
- Higher stress levels: when your body goes on alert, that means stress. You already have a lot of trouble with stress? Then this method might not be so good for you.
- Pre-existing conditions: Then discuss cold thermogenesis with your doctor before using it regularly. It is not helpful for every illness.
- Weakness of the immune system: If your immune system is already very weak due to illness or naturally, you should refrain from further exposure to thermogenesis.
- Menstrual cramps: Are you menstruating right now and usually suffer from more severe discomfort? Then you should refrain from cold thermogenesis during this time, because the cold stress can intensify your menstrual cramps.
How does cold stress work?
In the effects of the cold shower, we have already gone a little into how cold strain works. Here we want to devote ourselves to this topic again in detail.
The body temperature of a healthy person is usually up to 37 degrees. Cold stress reduces the temperature and the body tries to maintain its normal temperature. This takes more energy than normal. Heat production is boosted by increased fat burning. This is accompanied by several reactive mechanisms that strengthen the immune system and reduce inflammation through hormonal and metabolic changes.
The effects of better circulation are also seen in higher skin health and increased muscle recovery. It is not without reason that cold thermogenesis is already established as a standard in sports.
Does the water have to be completely cold?
In the article we wrote that the water should be as cold as possible. For the first positive effects, a temperature below 21 degrees is sufficient, even if the ideal temperature is between 10 and 16 degrees.
It is proven that a change from warm temperatures to cold temperatures during the shower process can further increase the result and the effect of the cold shower. So it doesn't hurt to start with running warm water and then quickly (or slowly) reduce the temperature.
Temperatures of 0 degrees and ice water are not necessary for measurable results, although they are of course a further increase.
Can you get used to cold showers?
Even if the mental strength increases, it remains an overcoming. The one to three minutes under the cold shower can be a real challenge, but you will be rewarded by the many positive effects.
Over time, the minutes under the cold shower will come a little easier, but the long-term well-being will remain even after you get used to it. Unlike substances like coffee, you don't have to keep increasing the dose to get the same effect.
Try it out and set goals!
You are brave? Then start now with a 2-3 minute ice cold shower. First shower off with warm water, then start the cold water and hold out.