The benefits of a cold shower
The last time I took a cold shower for any extended period of time was in 2012, when Hurricane Sandy slammed into New York and my wife and I lost power for five days. She found the prospect of an icy shower a nightmare, so to make it seem a bit of a fun adventure, I tried to draw an analogy. "It's like camping," I said. To which she replied, "I hate camping."
Eventually, the power came back, and I resumed taking my usual hot showers. The hotter, the better, in fact. If there were a setting on the shower for scalding, I'd use it. I developed my own Saturday-evening routine. There was nothing I liked to do more than stand in a hot shower—it was my at-home version of a sauna and steam room all in one. I'd come out of the bathroom with skin so red my wife would think I'd just come back from a Chumash sweat lodge.
A few months ago, I made the switch back to Sandy-era subarctic showers, having come across an article that enumerated all of a cold shower's health benefits, which, in addition to promoting circulation, include reducing body fat and, best of all, releasing endorphins.
And then there's the other part, one that's more about the mental benefits than the physical: Taking a cold shower is hard. Believe me, there are some days, especially now, when the weather is boderline icy, that I really do not want to stand under a stream of cold water. But here's the thing: When you start your day doing something really difficult, you get psyched for the rest of the day; like a hard workout, it gets the adrenaline moving. You get energized. Maybe it's the endorphins. Maybe it's just the icy blasts of water numbing you of any pain. But it works.
Not that I don't miss my hot showers.