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Cold showers: Boost for the immune system

Kalt duschen: Boost für das Immunsystem

Nils Bodendiek |

Although belatedly, we are now in the first aggressive days of summer. Heat, sweat, scorching sun. The conditions far beyond the 20°C mark mean that many a workout’s circulation reaches its limits without any particular stimulus. But at the latest when the temperatures drop again in a few months, cold showers are no longer so pleasant. After all, the skin is no longer crying out for a heat equalizer, but for an additional lift on the sore muscles. We will now explain why cold showers are unpleasant, but more than useful:

The stone age man and the cold stimulus

What are now gyms, supermarkets and bathing lakes used to be nature. Let's not say that now in false, romanticizing retrospect. Rather, we are happy about the progress that mankind has made. Sport is now a hobby, functional training is a balance. In the past, hundreds, thousands of years ago without central heating and freezers, functional movement was essential for survival. We as humans were under constant pressure. Survival of the fittest was a life and death competition. Nature itself was just as harsh on us. The cold stimulus set by bad weather and a burning fire has fueled us hormonally. Positive stress arose, so that our immune system could grow more and more. So if you want to give your immune system a kick until next winter and still want to stay married to your underfloor heating, you should deal with a cold morning shower.

Oil on the cogs of the body: Getting bodily fluids to work

What happens when we freeze? How does cold feel on the skin? Let's think back to a cold, rainy December day: The wind pulls on our bones, so we pull together. We tense up, make ourselves small and direct the focus of our energy to the inside of the body. When we go back into the warm, slightly frozen, the body relaxes, the blood flows and peace returns. Taking a cold shower has the same effect, just less uncomfortable. Due to the temporary tension in our body, muscles and blood vessels contract, but then decompress again when the heat returns. Added to this is the anti-inflammatory effect, which boosts our immune system in the long term. A few minutes of agony for long-term gain. So taking a cold shower is like a 10-minute AMRAP: hurts but relieves.

Emotional and physical balance: Challenge and habits

Apart from normal, health-enhancing factors, psychology also comes into play, as is so often the case, with the newly established daily routine of “cold showers”. First of all, with regular cold showers, a new daily routine is established, which can become a pleasant habit. In addition, we have already spoken of an AMRAP. You can also design the shower yourself: you fight against yourself, even when the cold gets on your nerves. It's even more fun with a stopwatch!

This, in combination with the muscular relaxation afterwards, builds up a pleasant kind of new self-confidence: You have done something that you don't want to. And yet you have overcome yourself because you see the meaning behind it. Something like this is ideal for the bullet journal, we can promise!

But how do you start with ice showers?

You're not born Wim Hof. That's why there are several methods to feel your way to your personal limits. Cold showers Scaled instead of RX: sometimes water is like the first muscle up.

On the one hand there is the possibility of a contrast shower. The principle is very simple: first warm, then cold, then warm again. So shower at different intervals. Gradually, you can adjust the timing of the colder periods and lengthen them as needed, so that you progress gradually. If you like it a little harder and want to grit your teeth right away, you can lower the water temperature slightly with every shower. You start out hot on day 1, but ramp yourself down to point X over days and weeks. The choice of method is entirely up to you. We wish you the best of luck and have fun with your newly won willpower!

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