If you’re looking for a simple and effective way to burn more calories and lose weight, you might want to consider taking a cold shower. Yes, you read that right. Taking a cold shower can actually help you burn more calories and lose weight. But how does it work? And how many calories can you burn by taking a cold shower?
In this article, we’ll explain the benefits of cold showers, how they affect your metabolism, and how many calories you can burn by taking a cold shower. We’ll also give you some tips on how to take a cold shower safely and comfortably. So, if you’re ready to brave the cold and boost your weight loss, read on.
Have you ever wondered if taking a cold shower can help you lose weight? If so, you’re not alone. Many people are curious about the potential benefits of cold water therapy, which is the practice of using water that’s around 15°C to treat health conditions or stimulate health benefits. It’s also known as cold hydrotherapy, and it has been around for centuries.
Some celebrities and influencers, such as Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Jack Dorsey, and Joe Wickes, swear by it, claiming that it helps them clear their minds, boost their metabolism, and reduce inflammation. But what does science say?
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The benefit of cold showers
One of the main ways that cold showers can help you burn more calories is by activating brown fat. Brown fat is a special type of fat that burns calories to generate heat and keep you warm. Unlike white fat, which stores excess energy and contributes to obesity, brown fat can help you lose weight by increasing your metabolic rate.
However, brown fat is not always active. It needs a trigger to turn on and start burning calories. And that trigger is cold exposure. When you take a cold shower, you expose your body to a lower temperature than usual, which stimulates your brown fat to produce heat and warm you up.
This process, called thermogenesis, can burn up to 75 calories in a five-minute shower, compared to only 15 calories in a warm shower. That’s a five-fold difference!
Another benefit of cold showers is that they can help reduce muscle soreness after intense workouts. When you exercise, you cause microscopic damage to your muscle fibers, which triggers inflammation and pain. This is normal and necessary for your muscles to grow and adapt, but it can also be uncomfortable and limit your performance.
Cold showers can help you recover faster by reducing inflammation and numbing the pain receptors in your muscles. Some studies have shown that cold water immersion can reduce muscle soreness by up to 20% compared to resting or no intervention.
Cold showers can also help you cool down faster after exercise or overheating, which can prevent heat-related illnesses and improve sleep quality. To get the best results, you should take a cold shower as soon as possible after your workout, and aim for at least 10 minutes of exposure.
Besides activating brown fat, cold showers can also help you cool down faster after exercise or overheating. When you exercise, your body temperature rises and you start sweating to dissipate the excess heat.
However, sweating alone may not be enough to bring your body temperature back to normal, especially in hot and humid environments. This can lead to heat-related illnesses, such as heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
Cold showers can help you lower your body temperature faster than resting in a cool environment, by exposing your skin to cold water and reducing blood flow to the surface.
This can prevent your core temperature from rising too high and causing damage to your organs and tissues.
Cold showers can also improve your sleep quality by lowering your body temperature before bedtime, which is associated with better sleep onset and duration.
Any shower that has a temperature of less than 70 degrees F is considered cold. They could have health benefits. Hydrotherapy, also known as water therapy, has been used for centuries to harness our bodies’ natural ability to adapt to more harsh conditions. Our bodies are more resilient to stress.
Research has shown that icy showers can boost your immunity and increase resistance to illness. In the Netherlands, a clinical trial found that cold showers resulted in a 29% decrease in sick calls to work. A second study found that cold showers are associated with better survival rates in cancer patients.
Before you turn the cold water tap on at the end of your cold shower, it is important to know the risks associated with cold showers. A sudden shock of cold water can cause severe damage to the body.
People who take cold showers often praise the many benefits they receive, including faster recovery from intense training or lowering their chances of getting sick.
It is best to slowly ease into a cold shower. Begin by gradually lowering the temperature after a normal shower. Make sure the water is not too cold that it makes you feel uneasy. Next, place your feet underneath the water for about 2 to 3 minutes.
The majority of temperature research for men focuses on the testicles or scrotum. To keep the body at the optimal temperature for sperm production, the scrotum is located outside. It hangs around 35 to 37 degrees C.
Cold showers are thought to lower the scrotal temperature and allow the testicles produce the maximum amount of testosterone and sperm.
A cold shower can help improve the complexion of women. A simple cold shower can make your skin brighter. To lock in our core temperature, our skin’s pores can shrink to improve the texture and appearance.
It is best to wash your face with lukewarm water. However, cold water can have its advantages. Coldwater can tighten the skin and make it look younger. Your skin may also look healthier temporarily thanks to the increased circulation.
According to Internet experts, cold showers can be one of the best ways to “level up your biology.”
Some benefits claimed to be…
- Better skin and hair
- Greater muscle recovery
- Increased calorie intake and fat burning
- Increased testosterone production
- Immunity increases
This is, unfortunately, more fiction than reality.
- Ice baths for 10 minutes can help reduce muscle soreness after a workout, but they can also hinder muscle growth and strength gains. However, cold showers are unlikely to do the same.
- It’s not something I like. The more I can force myself into doing things that are painful or uncomfortable, even though they may not be my preferred choice, the better my life will be.
- The cold shower will not help you lose weight faster, boost your post-workout recovery time, make you look younger, or make your skin and hair prettier.
Does a Cold Shower Help Burn Calories?
Cold showers can be very uncomfortable, especially if they are new to you. Although they can be a shock to your system, there are some health benefits.
There are many benefits to taking cold showers:
- After a hard workout, it relieves muscle soreness.
- Boosting weight loss
- Calming itchiness
- Glamorous skin and hair
- Increased circulation
- Waking you up
However, not all cold water showers are created equal. It is important to choose the right “coldness” and water temperature for burning calories.
You can burn fat by taking a shower at a temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
Here’s how to take a cold shower to burn calories if you are still curious!
How do cold showers help burn calories?
Brown fat produces heat when it gets cold, such as when you take cold showers.
What is brown fat? What does brown fat do for weight loss?
Let’s talk about the two types of fats. Bad fat is also known as white fat. This is the horrible guy that everyone complains about and struggles to get rid of. Brown fat is often called “good fat” because it generates heat and burns calories.
Brown fat is not always active. To start burning calories and generate heat, you will need to activate brown fat.
You guessed it, cold showers activate brown fat to produce heat. This can help you burn a lot of calories and aid in weight loss.
A tip for weight loss: Take a cold shower. Make sure that the water is in the areas where your brownest fat is: the back, neck, and shoulders.
The idea of losing weight by freezing to death is not a new idea. Studies on this phenomenon have been around for decades. The first published study was in the Journal of Applied Physiology, in 1985.
It’s really quite simple. As your body temperatures dip due to cold water, your body enters a phase known as “non-shivering thermogenic,” in which it burns calories to generate heat.
The number of calories you eat increases as the temperature drops. You will eventually start to shiver, which is your body’s attempt at generating more heat through burning calories.
How Many Calories Can a Cold Shower Burn?
There are two things that will affect how many calories you can burn while taking a cold bath: the water temperature and how long it takes.
The temperature of the water determines how many calories you burn in a cold shower. The more your body has to work to keep you warm, the more calories you burn. So, colder water means more calories burned.
However, not everyone can handle the same level of cold. Some people are more sensitive to cold than others. Your age, health, and genetics can affect how cold you can stand.
But don’t force yourself to stay in the cold shower if it’s too much for you. Get out as soon as you feel too cold. You don’t want to risk getting hypothermia.
A cold shower can help you burn a few extra calories by boosting your metabolic rate. When you expose your body to cold water, it has to work harder to keep you warm, which burns 1-2 calories more per minute. So, a 5-minute cold shower can burn 10-20 calories more than a warm shower, where you normally burn 100 calories.
However, this is not a significant amount of calories. You won’t lose much weight by taking cold showers alone. You still need to exercise and eat healthy to achieve your fitness goals. Cold showers do have other benefits though, such as improving blood circulation, reducing inflammation, and increasing alertness.
So, if you want to increase your metabolism and enhance your overall health, a 5-minute cold shower is a good option. Just don’t expect it to be a magic solution for weight loss.
Here is a table showing the number of calories burned in a 5 to 30-minute cold shower:
As you can see, the longer you stay in the cold shower, the more calories you burn. But the difference is not very big. So, if you want to burn more calories, you should do some other form of exercise.
But cold showers have other benefits, so if you can handle the cold, it’s worth a try.
A study in the journal “Metabolism” showed that 5 minutes of water exposure at 30 degrees Fahrenheit (-1.1 degrees Celsius) can burn 75 calories.
For most people, a 60-degree Fahrenheit shower is tolerable for a short time. But if you want to burn more calories with cold showers, you need to go colder. You can start with a 50-degree Fahrenheit shower and see how you feel. Then you can lower the temperature gradually if you can.
Here is a table summarizing the number of calories burned at different water temperatures in 5 minutes:
|Temperature||Calories Burned (calories)|
|60 degrees Fahrenheit||15|
|55 degrees Fahrenheit||25|
|50 degrees Fahrenheit||35|
|45 degrees Fahrenheit||45|
You don’t have to shower in cold water all the time. You can shower with cold water if it seems difficult for you.
Showering can help you burn calories, regardless of the water temperature. One thing is certain: a colder shower burns more calories than a hot one.
Hot showers can be relaxing and act as a mini massage for your neck, back, shoulders, and neck. You can burn about 140 calories an hour. Who has the time to spend an hour in a hot tub, no matter how relaxing?
Hot showers burn only 35 calories per fifteen minutes, according to the math. However, taking cold showers at the same time could potentially result in three times more calories depending on the temperature.
The data table below shows calories burned over time and the temperature
|Water Temperature||Calories Burned (calories)|
|5 Minutes||10 Minutes||15 Minutes||20 Minutes||30 Minutes|
|60 (°F) ~ (15.6°C)||10-20||20-40||30-60||40-80||50-100|
|55 (°F) ~ (13°C)||15-30||30-60||45-90||60-120||75-150|
|50 (°F) ~ (10°C)||20-40||40-80||60-120||80-160||100-200|
|45 (°F) ~ (7.2°C)||25-50||50-100||75-150||100-200||125-250|
|40 (°F) ~ (4.4°C)||30-60||60-120||90-180||120-240||150-300|
|35 (°F) ~ (1.7°C)||35-70||70-140||105-210||140-280||175-350|
|30 (°F) ~ (-1.1°C)||40-80||80-160||120-240||160-320||200-400|
This is enough to make it a habit to switch from hot to cold water next time you take a bath.
Can You Lose Weight With Cold Showers?
Although it is nice to think you can lose excess fat by taking a shower, it is not the best way of losing weight. Although it is possible to lose weight by shivering when exposed to cold, such as from a long, cold bath, it is not known if it does.
You could also be at risk of hypothermia which can lead to death. Instead, focus on a healthy diet and getting more active to lose weight. It’s not new that cold exposure can help you lose weight. This idea has been around for decades.
In 1985, the Journal of Applied Physiology published one of the earliest studies of this phenomenon. The authors examined both calorie burning and fat loss in men who bathed for two hours in cool water.
The cool bath increased fat burning and the men used stored carbohydrates to increase energy. Your body will burn more calories when it is cold to maintain body heat.
Your body’s temperature drops slightly and you enter “nonshivering thermogenesis,” a phrase that increases your calorie burning.
You’ll feel colder and start to shiver. This heat also helps you burn calories.
The theory is that cold showers can help you lose weight. According to a 2014 study in Cellular Metabolism, shivering can increase your calorie burn and trigger brown fat production.
Brown fat, unlike normal fat tissue which does not burn many calories per day, is metabolically active and can produce heat.
This is more common in people who are lean than those who are overweight or obese. Increasing your brown fat levels may help you lose weight by increasing your calorie intake throughout the day.
Researchers found that shivering increases the levels of “irisin,” a hormone that triggers brown fat production. This is similar to exercising.
The results from the Cellular Metabolism research suggest that taking cold showers might be a good way to lose weight. However, it’s still too early to say for certain.
In an interview with National Geographic, Dr. Francesco Celi, the study’s principal author, explained that shivering may not be beneficial for your irisin levels if you are already exercising (which you should) when you’re trying to lose weight.
Long-term cold showers can also be dangerous as they could lead to hypothermia. Hypothermia can be caused by prolonged exposure to cold water.
Hypothermia can reduce your reflexes, cause weakness in your muscles, and lead to fatigue. This could increase your chances of falling in the shower or sustaining injury.
Hypothermia, which causes a drop in body temperature, can lead to dangerous heart disease. To burn calories is not worth risking your safety.
So, are you ready to take the plunge and try cold showers for yourself? If you do, you may be surprised by how much they can benefit your health and well-being. Cold showers can help you burn more calories by activating your brown fat, which generates heat and boosts your metabolism.
They can also help you recover faster from exercise or overheating by reducing your inflammation, pain, and body temperature. And they can help you feel happier and healthier by improving your mood, immunity, and sleep quality.
Of course, cold showers are not a miracle cure, and they may not suit everyone. You should always check with your doctor before starting any new health regimen, especially if you have any medical issues or concerns.
You should also ease into the habit gradually, and pay attention to how your body reacts. If you follow these tips, you may discover that cold showers are not only bearable but enjoyable and rewarding.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long should I take a cold shower for weight loss?
The duration of a cold shower for weight loss may vary depending on the water temperature, the amount of body surface exposed, and the individual's tolerance to cold. However, some sources suggest that taking a cold shower for at least 5 minutes can help activate brown fat and increase metabolism. However, this may not be enough to cause significant weight loss, as cold exposure only increases the metabolic rate by 1-2 calories per minute. Therefore, a person should not rely on cold showers alone as a weight loss technique, but rather combine them with other strategies such as exercise and a balanced diet. Additionally, taking cold showers for too long may have negative effects on health, such as hypothermia or frostbite. Therefore, it is important to be careful and listen to one's body when taking cold showers for weight loss.
What is the best water temperature for a cold shower?
The best water temperature for a cold shower may depend on your personal preference and tolerance, as well as the purpose of taking a cold shower. However, some sources suggest that a water temperature below 70°F is considered a cold shower and that the optimal range for activating brown fat and boosting metabolism is between 50°F and 60°F. However, water temperatures lower than 50°F may be too uncomfortable or even harmful for some people, especially those with certain medical conditions or low body fat. Therefore, it is important to find a water temperature that is cold enough to stimulate the body's response, but not so cold that it causes pain or distress. Additionally, it is advisable to gradually lower the water temperature rather than jumping into a freezing shower, as this can help the body adapt and avoid shock
What are some medical conditions that make cold showers risky?
Some medical conditions that make cold showers risky are:
- Heart or lung conditions: Cold water constricts the blood vessels and increases blood pressure and heart rate. This can cause cardiac stress, arrhythmias, or pulmonary edema in people with heart or lung problems.
- Weakened immune system: Cold water can shock the immune system and increase the risk of catching cold or other infections, especially in people who have a compromised immune system.
- Low body fat: Cold water can lower the core body temperature and cause hypothermia, which is a dangerous drop in body temperature. People with low body fat are more susceptible to hypothermia because they have less insulation to keep them warm.
- Raynaud's disease: Cold water can trigger Raynaud's disease, which is a condition that affects the blood vessels in the fingers and toes. People with Raynaud's disease experience numbness, pain, and color changes in their extremities when exposed to cold temperatures.
Are cold showers good for your immune system?
Cold showers may have some benefits for your immune system, according to some studies. Some possible benefits are:
- Increasing the number of white blood cells: White blood cells are the cells that protect your body against diseases by attacking and destroying foreign substances. Some studies have found that taking a cold shower increases the number of white blood cells in your body, which may enhance your immune response.
- Activating virus-fighting cytokines: Cytokines are molecules that regulate the immune system and inflammation. Some cytokines, such as gamma interferon and interleukin-4, are involved in fighting viral infections. A German study indicated that these cytokines are elevated and work more synergistically after the body is exposed to cold, which may help prevent or treat viral illnesses.
- Reducing stress and inflammation: Stress and inflammation can weaken the immune system and make you more susceptible to infections. Cold showers may help reduce stress and inflammation by lowering cortisol levels, improving blood circulation, and stimulating the nervous system. This may improve your immune system's function and resilience.
Is it safe to take cold showers every day?
It depends on your health and personal preference. For most people, taking cold showers every day is safe and may have some benefits, such as improving circulation, boosting immunity, and relieving muscle soreness. However, some people may have medical conditions that make cold showers risky, such as heart or lung problems, weakened immune system, low body fat, or Raynaud's disease. Cold showers may also cause distress or discomfort for some people, especially if the water is too cold or the exposure is too long. Therefore, it is important to consult your doctor before trying cold showers and to be careful about the water temperature, the duration of exposure, and the signs of distress when taking cold showers. You should also listen to your own body and preferences and not force yourself to take cold showers if you don't enjoy them or feel comfortable with them.
What are the signs of distress when taking cold showers?
Some signs of distress when taking cold showers are:
- Difficulty breathing: Cold water can cause cold water shock, which is a sudden increase in heart rate and blood pressure that can make breathing difficult or even cause drowning. This can happen even in healthy people, especially if they are not used to cold water exposure. If you feel like you can't breathe or catch your breath, you should stop the cold shower immediately and seek medical help if needed.
- Shivering: Shivering is a natural response to cold that helps generate heat and warm up the body. However, excessive shivering can indicate that your body temperature is dropping too low and that you are at risk of hypothermia. Hypothermia is a dangerous condition where the core body temperature falls below 95°F (35°C) and can cause confusion, drowsiness, loss of coordination, and even death. If you start shivering uncontrollably, you should stop the cold shower and warm up with dry clothes and blankets.
- Numbness or pain: Cold water can reduce blood flow to the skin and extremities, causing numbness or pain in the fingers, toes, ears, nose, or other body parts. This can also increase the risk of frostbite, which is a severe injury to the skin and tissues caused by freezing. Frostbite can cause blisters, blackening of the skin, and permanent damage or loss of the affected body part. If you feel numbness or pain in any body part, you should stop the cold shower and gently warm up the affected area with warm water or a warm compress. Do not rub or massage the area as this can cause more damage.
- Anxiety or panic: Cold water can trigger anxiety or panic attacks in some people, especially those who have a history of anxiety disorders or phobias. Anxiety or panic attacks can cause symptoms such as chest pain, palpitations, sweating, trembling, nausea, dizziness, or fear of losing control or dying. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should stop the cold shower and try to calm yourself down by breathing deeply, relaxing your muscles, or distracting yourself with positive thoughts. You may also seek professional help if your anxiety or panic attacks are frequent or severe.