Cold showers and cold-water swimming, the benefits in terms of physical and mental health - what do we know?

Fab Foodie

hanging-on in quiet desperation ...
Lately there seems to have been a lot of articles about the potential health benefits of cold showers and cold-water swimming, the latest being that regular cold immersion causes the production of a protein that might inhibit Alzheimers.
Mainstream claims are improvements to:

Mental Health
Boost Immunity
Circulation
Sleep
Libido
Alertness
Muscle soreness
Weight loss

Certainly anecdata from friends make huge claims about wild-swimming, others here the benefits of daily cold showers. Living by the sea am often minded to join the early morning dippers of which there seem a few.

So what do people know cold water immersion and what has been your experience?
 

fossyant

Ride It Like You Stole It!
Location
South Manchester
Forget it. Brrrrr :cold:
 

LCpl Boiled Egg

Cuppa splosh please treacle!
I'm guessing you saw this on the Beeb the other day? Scientists are looking at the effects of cold water swimming on dementia. It was a very interesting segment.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/health-54600555

"In a world first, a "cold-shock" protein has been found in the blood of regular winter swimmers at London's Parliament Hill Lido. The protein has been shown to slow the onset of dementia and even repair some of the damage it causes in mice.

Prof Giovanna Mallucci, who runs the UK Dementia Research Institute's Centre at the University of Cambridge, says the discovery could point researchers towards new drug treatments which may help hold dementia at bay.

The research - although promising - is at an early stage, but it centres on the hibernation ability that all mammals retain, which is prompted by exposure to cold."
 
Attending a sports college in Norway 23 years ago, there was an option to partake in 'ice-swimming'. 😳

Being younger, more adventurous, and considerably less wiser, I volunteered for the 10-week 'swim' (once a week) during the coldest part of winter.

With minus air temperature and a scalding +4° water temperature a group of us very cautiously entered the water (the river Gudbrandsdalslågen) after having broken the ice to be able to get in the water, unsure of the 'correct' technique: ie in and out as quickly as possible (to validate the swim, at least three swimming strokes had to be performed and your head had to be fully submerged at least once) or slowly to reduce the 'shock' factor.

It was painfully and extremely uncomfortable, but within seconds of being back on dry land the endorphins kick in and I felt glowingly marvellous: a feeling that lasted the entire 10-minute mini bus journey back to the sauna at the college.

I completed all 10 swims (we all did) but wouldn't consider it again now cos I'm an old git and like my comforts too much.

But saying that, I do enjoy having a sauna interspersed with regular trips to a cold shower, or preferably a roll out in the snow, which gives the same euphoria without the pain of ice-cold water.
 
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OP
Fab Foodie

Fab Foodie

hanging-on in quiet desperation ...
I'm guessing you saw this on the Beeb the other day? Scientists are looking at the effects of cold water swimming on dementia. It was a very interesting segment.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/health-54600555

"In a world first, a "cold-shock" protein has been found in the blood of regular winter swimmers at London's Parliament Hill Lido. The protein has been shown to slow the onset of dementia and even repair some of the damage it causes in mice.

Prof Giovanna Mallucci, who runs the UK Dementia Research Institute's Centre at the University of Cambridge, says the discovery could point researchers towards new drug treatments which may help hold dementia at bay.

The research - although promising - is at an early stage, but it centres on the hibernation ability that all mammals retain, which is prompted by exposure to cold."
Yes, that's it!
 

Archie_tect

De Skieven Architek... aka Penfold
Location
Northumberland
I've just had a shower a la @screenman my going from warm to cold for the final minute. I do feel invigorated/awake compared to how I felt before. I will continue this method for a while and see what happens.... I may die....
I similarly tried it this morning following @screenman's suggestion... it was invigorating and I did spend the minutes getting dry with what felt like a very warm towel, laughing and giggling, feeling very pleased with myself!.

It reminded me of running out of the sea as a small child across the cold windswept UK beaches like Bridlington or Newquay into the open arms of my mum holding a big beach towel to be enveloped in warmth and hugs.
 
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