Cold showers: Why it is sometimes difficult for me even after almost two years

Cold showers: personal conclusion after almost two years
CC0 Public Domain / Pexels – Karolina Kaboompics

Strengthening the immune system and saving energy at the same time – these are two reasons why people take cold showers. But does a cold shower really have so many advantages? Our author has been testing herself for almost two years – and still doesn’t know for sure whether she is a fan of cold showers.

I want to catch fewer colds and strengthen my immune system. That was my goal in autumn 2022. What did I do to achieve this? I took cold showers to toughen up my body – that was the theory.

But I also wanted to save energy by taking cold showers. Because instead of being inventive in times of energy crisis and buying a tea light heater or being misled by another energy saving myth, I wanted to start where I could really save money. But does using cold water for showering actually have great potential for saving money? And what health benefits does it have?

Before I started the experiment, I asked a family doctor. What the health expert recommended, the difficulties I had with cold showers and what I discovered about myself in the process are summarised in this article.

Cold showers: Can they be healthy?

Cold showers have had loyal fans for many years who swear by the health benefits of the cold shock under the shower. Studies have shown that cold showers are not only healthy, but are even said to help you lose weight and release happiness hormones.

As this sounds almost too good to be true, I asked Dr. Jakob Berger, a family doctor and district chairman of the Bavarian Association of Family Doctors. During the conversation, the expert confirmed that a cold shower stimulates the circulation, immune system and blood flow. In addition, cold water improves blood flow to the mucous membranes, which leads to stronger immune systems.

Cold water also has advantages for skin and hair: it is gentler, whereas hot water can remove too much fat from the skin. “When you take a cold shower, the blood vessels first contract and then expand. This leads to better skin tone,” adds Dr. Berger.

In this case you should not take a cold shower

However, cold showers are only recommended to a limited extent for severe colds. If the body is already weakened, the cold shock can put too much strain on it. In winter, you should also never go outside or to bed with wet hair; dry it thoroughly first.

Dr. Berger explains to Utopia that, even if you have a cold, there is nothing wrong with taking a cold shower. However, if you are already freezing before you shower, you should turn the water up to a warmer setting and not subject yourself to unnecessary pain.

Not only health benefits: A cold shower saves energy

Turning the water to cold when showering not only has health benefits, it also saves you a lot of energy. Heating water is energy-intensive – and when energy costs are high, it can be expensive.

Around twelve to fifteen litres of water run through a conventional shower head every minute. This means that even a short five-minute shower requires more than 60 litres of water to be heated. The potential for savings is correspondingly large.

Cold shower self-test: This is how I started

Better blood circulation and lower energy consumption – for me that meant I had to try out cold showers myself. The following points benefited me:

  • I’ve never been one to take long showers and enjoy standing under the warm water for long periods of time, so I didn’t really miss it.
  • I generally prefer saving to comfort or luxury. My motivation was therefore high.
  • In the summer I always like to take lukewarm or cold showers and use them to refresh myself on hot days. So I’m already familiar with the concept of the cold shower.

I started cold: After the summer, I didn’t switch back to the warm shower in autumn 2022, but stayed on the cold setting. I didn’t work my way up slowly and, for example, only turn the water on cold at the end of the shower, but instead stood directly under the cold water jet. For me, it was better to shower completely cold right away than to increase it slowly. That would have been harder for me.

My experiment was so successful

I can now look back on over 20 months of cold showers – and I’m still doing it almost two years later. When I think back to the early days, I know how difficult the fall and winter were at times: When it got colder outside and therefore also in my bathroom, I found cold showers really challenging at times. On some days, it was really hard for me to stand under the cold water.

My washing routine – cold showers are something you have to learn

But I have developed a routine that works well for me: First, I wet my hair and shampoo it. Since I have long hair, my body doesn’t really get wet. Then I dip both legs under the water jet, then my arms, and finally I wet my back and stomach and stand completely under the running water.

Before I use shower gel, I turn the water off again. I’ve always done this out of habit, and since I started taking cold showers, it’s become even more natural. Overall, I try to spend as little time as possible under the cold water. Finally, I rinse my hair and shower everything off as quickly as possible – done.

What I think after every cold shower when I wrap myself in my towel: That felt good. I feel awake, refreshed and clean. That hasn’t changed even after all this time.

The difficult second autumn

Have I ever given in? A few times, yes. But I was always able to defend myself against that: the water was already warm because my husband had showered before me. Or I was standing in the shower at the swimming pool and didn’t correct the lukewarm setting.

What’s interesting is that in the fall and winter of 2023, I found it a little harder to take a cold shower than the year before. It’s actually become an integral part of my everyday life. I still “caught” myself setting the water to lukewarm rather than really cold. With the current high temperatures in summer, however, I really enjoy taking a cold shower again.

Conclusion: Cold showers remain a (slightly smaller) challenge

The shower stays cold.
The shower stays cold. (Photo: lr / utopia)

What have I learned after almost two years? I can also bring myself to stand under cold running water in the long term. I’m quite proud of that.

It’s not always easy for me, but I’ll try to keep the shower cold. My family doctor Dr. Berger assured me that you can toughen up and get used to the cold water.

Even if my body never becomes a convinced fan of cold water, at least my head has adapted to it and I automatically leave the tap set to blue. I am always satisfied after a shower.

Also because I know that I save energy and water. Since I started taking cold showers, it’s even faster: I no longer let the water run warm, but immediately dip my head in the cold water. When I soap up, the water is turned off anyway and I don’t stay in the water jet for a second longer than necessary. In addition, I bought an energy-saving shower head in the summer of 2022, which I am very happy with. In addition to this, Utopia has other tips for saving money in the shower.

I haven’t noticed any hugely positive effects on my health so far. However, I have had very few colds in recent winters and not a bad one. I attribute this not only to the cold showers, but also to lots of hot ginger tea and exercise in the fresh air.

Tips for getting started

If you love hot showers and want to try cold showers, start slowly and turn the water to lukewarm. Then you can make it a little colder from shower to shower. Or to put it in Dr. Berger’s words: “You don’t have to go to extremes at first.”

Read more on Techzle\.com:

  • 15 tips for saving energy in the bathroom: How to reduce electricity and water consumption
  • Does a reduced water temperature increase the risk of Legionella?
  • How often should you change towels?

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