Cold Shower Challenge: Ginger's Edition

“I thought about taking a cold shower this morning…does that count?” I half-jokingly asked my friends. We had all watched the buzz feed video that Calley sent about a couple people doing a cold shower challenge (see her story here and Leez’s story here).

Fast forward thirty days… “I just want a hot shower!” I complained to my husband. He had no sympathy. I brought this upon myself.

Side note: Ollie is my sweet pup featured in the photo and his face expresses how I often felt about stepping into the cold shower. 

WHY

Why on earth would someone agree to doing a cold shower challenge. Taking a cold shower boasts several benefits. Here are a few:

  • Improves circulation
  • Promotes fat loss
  • Improves skin and hair
  • Strengthens immunity
  • Increases energy and well-being

There are more, but those were the benefits that interested me. So I was willing to give it a try.

THE PLAN

The plan was simple. One cold shower a day, either at night or in the morning for thirty days. No hot showers. At all.

MY EXPERIENCE

It was…cold. Big surprise there. I took my showers in the morning to help me wake up and get it done with for the day. A week in, my husband bought a temperature gauge so I could monitor just how cold it was. I experienced several thoughts, feelings and outcomes from this challenge. Here are a few:

  • There were times that I thought I would never warm up again.
  • My feet would stay cold for forever.
  • When I would step out of the shower, I felt a strange warmth; like my body was working overtime to warm back up.
  • Sometimes my palms would turn purple.
  • I craved a hot shower.
  • It was impossible to keep my legs smoothly shaved.
  • My resting heart rate slowly increased from a normal resting rate around 67-68 to a peak of 78 before it went back down.
  • On a couple days, I took two showers.
  • The coldest I could take it was low 60s. And that hurt.
  • It forced me to get up earlier and I’m happy to report that habit has stuck.
  • I really wanted a hot shower. Just a short one?
  • My hair looked greasy for the first week or two until it became accustomed to it. After that, it had more volume and I didn’t have to wash it as often.

I didn’t notice a change in my skin or feel that it helped with fat loss. That’s not to say it didn’t, but I didn’t visibly notice it. While the main benefit I did see during the challenge was the difference in my hair, the reason I am inspired to continue the cold showers is a change that I felt on day thirty-two. On day thirty-one, I took a hot shower and it was WONDEFUL! However, on day thirty-two, I woke up with noticeably dryer skin. So much so, it was almost uncomfortable. To that end, I will continue in a modified way: cold showers, but not always and not as cold as my coldest showers were during the challenge but around my comfort temp of 77 degrees.

All in all? Success. Bring on the next challenge!