Life by the Blonde - Tips from the Female Eye for the Modern Guy.
Ok, some of you may not like me so much after this blog!
You may have heard that taking a cold shower every day does wonders for you – but what exactly are the benefits and the best way to build up to it?
I embarked on a 30 day cold shower challenge last year. Me, the person who is freezing cold at the best of times, who’s not keen on submerging herself in water unless it’s a pool on a tropical island. I remove ice from my drinks for God’s sake. I mean, me, cold showers, 30 days…what was I thinking?
I’m a prolific podcast listener so when Tim Ferriss interviewed Tony Robbins on his morning routines and I heard this, I did shudder. I heard Miranda Kerr chills daily and well, she positively glows…and the hot shots in Silicon Valley are ‘chillin out’ , so why not me?
The Blondes Tip - I had to attempt this as a challenge otherwise I would have bailed at first attempt. Hell, who am I kidding, if there was no challenge involved I’d have bailed before the first attempt! Enroll a group of friends or work colleagues to rise to challenge and hold each other accountable, swap notes and compare newly discovered expletives, if nothing else. I have a dear friend Adrian to thank for getting my out of my cosy bed a 6am to plunge into Icebergs Pool, Bondi in freezing waters, with a hangover. Funny, not funny.
Start hot. I’ve got hair to wash, so doing that ice cold was going to lead to all sorts of tangles. Then slowly, slowly turn the hot tap off and let the fun begin. I recall James Bond used this technique and it’s commonly known as a Scottish shower. I didn’t feel particularly James Bond if I’m honest…
So, I squealed, I swore (words I’ve never knew I knew!) I cried, swore some more and made noises I’ve never made before, or since. But I did it. Every day, for 30 days.
The Blondes Tip - For the not so brave, you could also take an alternating shower by simply switching your water temperature from hot to cold every 10-20 seconds. When you’re feeling brave and have the mental toughness you need to survive the shivering, then try the full blast cold shower on for size. Good luck!
It’s pretty painful. Well it was for me. I’m not blessed in the excess fat department, which normally thrills me, but in this instance I wanted to be covered in a layer of thick blubber! I bought myself a digital kitchen timer, stuck it to the shower wall, set it for 3 mins and watched the seconds slowly, slowly count down. Most certainly the longest 3 minutes of my day.
The Blondes Tip - Towards the end of the challenge I was using this time as a mini meditation opportunity. Taking the focus away from the shower scene more horrific than a Hitchcock movie I found myself in and focusing on a calming mantra instead ( although thoughts sometimes drifted to dreams about the sun, fire, hot chocolate...)
Here are the plus points –
- Burn baby burn
In our bodies we have white fat and brown fat. White fat is the bad guy (boo hiss - think the Joker) and brown fat is the good guy (yeah - think Batman). White fat is the body fat we all know and struggle to get rid of and lurks it paces we wish it didn’t. Brown fat is the good guy and its function is to generate heat to keep your body warm. Here’s where the good news kicks in : when brown fat is activated due to extreme cold, it burns calories to keep you warm, which could provide a helpful assist in your weight loss plan. Exposure to cold temperatures increased the metabolic rate of brown fat by fifteen times, which could help a person drop nine pounds in a year if sustained. Go figure.
- Ease up baby
Athletes often take ice baths after vigorous training do reduce soreness. You don’t have to take it that far, but you can obtain a similar benefit with a quick cold shower after your training sessions. Maybe walking upstairs won’t be quite so agonizing with a little dose of cold after the gym. I walked the 27km on the 7 Bridges Walk in Sydney last summer (around 5 hours at cracking pace) and soaked my legs in a cold bath afterwards. I’ll be honest, my pins were pretty fresh the next day and no sore joints or feet.
If you’d like to put an extra spring in your step first thing in the morning, take a cold shower before you go to work. When cold water pours over your body, your breathing deepens in response to the shock of the cold (this is your body trying to keep you warm by increasing overall oxygen intake). Your heart rate will also increase, resulting in a rush of blood through your body that will help you get energized for the day. I know my clarity, focus and concentration were all vastly improved by the cold showers.
- Fighting talk
I mentioned earlier that cold showers speed up your metabolic rate. The increase of this rate activates your immune system, which releases virus-fighting white blood cells that will help you get sick less frequently. Cold showers also increase your overall blood circulation, which can help you avoid hypertension and the hardening of arteries.
- Hey gorgeous ;)
Hot water dries out your skin, whilst cold water tightens your cuticles and pores, preventing them from getting clogged. Cold showers give you shinier, glossier hair.
So you may want to try this little experiment for yourself. Life can be challenging and if this simple morning tip can put a little zing in your day, a toot in your whistle and deliver more focus and clarity before you begin the day ahead, I think it’s no bad thing x