image c/o chuen seng teoh
Of all the things I have been doing as part of my morning routine, the cold shower was the most difficult thing to start. It was also the last thing that I added to my current routine.
I first heard of the benefits of cold therapy from the Iceman himself, Wim Hof. From his website The Wim Hof Method:
The cold is your warm friend and one of the three pillars of the wim hof method. Proper exposure to the cold starts a cascade of health benefits, including the buildup of brown adipose tissue and resultant fat loss, reduced inflammation that facilitates a fortified immune system, balanced hormone levels, improved sleep quality, and the production of endorphins— the feel-good chemicals in the brain that naturally elevate your mood.
Since I began working in Europe, I am no longer a stranger to cold. I have learnt of friends from Northern Europe who would alternate spending time in sauna and dipping in the lake during the depths of winter. These cultures have been practicing cold therapy due to their belief in its benefits to health.
Without access to an icy lake or an ice bath, I settled on the cold shower instead. The key is really, again, to just do it. I find it easiest to start with warm shower and finishing off with 60 seconds with the ice cold shower. Shock and deep breathing ensues.
After the cold shower, I feel invigorated, alert and strong. By seeking discomfort and overcoming the inertia of staying in my comfort zone, it gives me an additional push to push through other challenges in my life. A great way to start the day.