We all look forward to a shower after a hard day’s work. That shower has the power to refresh us and even make any problem temporarily disappear. Even random showers throughout the day will keep us cool and calm.
But when it comes to workouts, showers can play a more important role. A shower after a workout is a must but you might have heard debates as to whether cold or hot showers are better before a workout.
You might be wondering why you would resort to cold showers and not hot ones, especially before a workout? How long of a cold shower should you take? How do cold showers affect your body? Is a cold or hot shower better before or after the workout? What should you eat before a workout and is it still okay to shower?
Yes! Cold showers are a better choice since hot showers may absorb all the moisture in your body, causing you to itch. This will not make your workout experience a pleasant one. A shower of about 15 minutes will help you loosen up your muscles and increase your stamina when preparing for an intense workout.
Cold showers over hot showers
You’d indeed feel more relaxed with a hot shower. But is this really what your body needs right before a workout?
Hot water showers can kill off your body’s natural moisturizers, leaving you with an itching problem that you obviously wouldn’t want to deal with while working out. And if you take a shower that is too hot, this could lead to bigger problems since hot showers can increase your blood pressure.
If you have had high blood pressure, a hot shower can worsen your condition.
But when it comes to cold showers, if you don’t dread that sudden punch of the cold hitting your body, it can be very helpful for your workout.
Studies have confirmed that this pre-cooling period will help to lengthen your body’s ability for a longer exercise and prepare you better for an intense workout.
The benefits of cold showers
Cold baths are a common custom in many parts of the world. For instance, Roman bathing styles were based on the tradition of making your way through a couple of heated rooms, ending with the plunge into cold water.
You will feel fresher and more active from your cold shower and will reap the benefits of better blood circulation. The best way to get your body to sharpen up and be fully awake is through a cold shower.
It not only improves your immune system but also your cardiovascular circulation and vitality.
In a study conducted in 2016, it was shown that a daily routine of hot to cold shower followed by physical activity of some sort resulted in a 54% decrease in sickness when compared with people that neglect both.
If you struggle with sore muscles, then cold showers will be an ideal way of reducing your muscle inflammation. It will potentially even boost weight loss and help you achieve the glowing skin and hair you always wanted.
For a healthy body and lifestyle, embracing the cold will be just a small price to pay.
Is a cold shower better before or after your workout?
What exactly is the difference of showering before and after a workout? Does it even matter?
The below table highlights the most important facts you should know.
|Showering pre-workout||Showering post-workout|
|Controls your body odor – Showering pre-workout gets rid of the bacteria, sweat, and debris from your skin collected throughout the day. This is best for your hygiene.||Rapid muscle recovery – Cold water after a workout will decrease tissue breakdown, swelling and improve blood circulation.|
|Better physical comfort – Approaching your workout routine with a more refreshed and cleaner outlook will help you feel more confident and ready.||Depression relief – The slight shock received from the cold water will increase the electric impulses in your brain, resulting in better moods.|
|Increased endurance – Cold showers are known to develop your capacity at handling intense physical training for a longer period. You can start strong and finish strong.||The body adapts to the cold – You will no longer be complaining of the cold as regular cold showers after a workout will make your body accustomed to the cold.|
|Increased attentiveness – When that cold water hits you, it will trigger a spike in your heart rate and oxygen intake. Your energy may impress you during the workout.||Weight loss – Cold water activates the process of burning fat in your body. The increase in calories burned is to keep you warm. So colder the water, the faster the weight loss.|
|Ready to win attitude– When your body is sparking with health with that shower, your mindset is boosted too to handle an intense workout. It’s a win-win scenario||Improved blood circulation – This can even apply to pre-workout as well as post-workout showering. With cold water, your body will go on overdrive to sustain its original temperature, thereby creating better blood circulation|
Eating before your pre-workout shower
When you take a shower right after any meal, it may cause a decrease in your body temperature. The best timing would be to wait for at least 30 minutes after a meal before you take your pre-workout shower.
As you may already know you shouldn’t work out on a hungry stomach. You should also refrain from taking heavy meals before a workout, as it may lead to nausea and indigestion.
So, the best way to face your shower and workout would be to have a light meal.
A balanced diet of fats, carbs, and protein will do you a lot of good.
Below are some tips that can increase the benefits you get out of your pre-workout cold shower
- Try switching from hot to cold – When you’re showering, try mixing it up by switching from cold to hot and vice versa. By doing this, your lymph vessels will contract faster, letting out more fluid to toughen your immune system. The lymphatic system, being an important defender against infections, will thrive from this.
- Use scented products – When increasing your body’s alertness with cold water, you will find it more rewarding by using scented body wash products. Some scents help bring out an extra bit of energy stored in you. Try using citrus-scented bath soaps such as orange, rosemary, lemon, and you will not be disappointed by its overall effect on your body and mind.
- Refrain from overly heated water – Even if you prefer showering in hot water, avoid switching to extremely hot water as it runs the risk of increasing your blood pressure, which might hinder your body’s safety in the long run, especially if you already have high blood pressure.
- Pick shower products wisely – If you’re a person that showers often, then find products that reduce the drying effects of constant use. In other words, refrain from using shampoos with sulfates and parabens. If you have sensitive skin, non-fragrant soaps would be better for you.
- Use cold water as much as you can– Including cold water in your daily shower routine will help save the moisture in your skin and tighten your skin pores. You wouldn’t be leaving your shower with a puffy red face anymore.
A nice cold shower, before your daily workout, would, in the long run, keep you healthy, confident, and empowered not just physically but mentally as well. Hot showers are also good for you but it depends on how often and when you take them.
Transitioning to a cold shower can definitely be difficult to get used to at first. But with a bit of time and consistency, you will notice the differences.
A cold shower can give you the energy you need to take on the gym and maybe even the world.