Why You Should Have a Cold Shower After a Workout
As explained previously by Tom Finn in his ‘Maximising your Muscle Growth’ post, you will need to give your muscles adequate time to recover, as you won’t be doing them any favours if you continue training while they are sore, or worse, damaged. Rest, of course, is vital in this regard. But you can also jumpstart the recovery process right after your workout by taking a post-exercise cold shower.
A cold shower post-workout can aid in muscle recovery. But a word of caution, before you proceed: If you have an acute injury, you will have to consult your doctor or physical therapist, as performing this post-workout routine might not be best for you, and could make your current problems even worse. Otherwise, you can try it out and see if it works for you.
Why a Cold Shower is Helpful
Dr. Kristin Maynes explains that a cold shower decreases blood flow, which then results in your muscles and joints stiffening to the point that pain is decreased as well. This process then paves the way for reducing any inflammation, which can be the result of intense physical exertion. Reducing inflammation is particularly critical because muscle soreness for a sustained period of time can hamper recovery.
Sore or injured muscles react best to cold power showers that get deep into the muscles, as its effect is similar to putting ice on a sprained ankle. According to Medical News Today, the cold jets of water slow down inflammation and reduce the risk of swelling and tissue damage, both of which affect recovery time. A robust power shower is important for the ultimate post-workout cold shower. A number of power showers are featured on Screwfix that have the force to hit muscles deep, which means the jets of water will aid in alleviating pain and inflammation. Most showers are detachable, meaning you can focus cold water on specific body parts or muscles. So, if you worked your triceps to submission, you can grab that shower head and focus the water on that muscle group giving it the cold treatment it needs.
Addtionally, a cold shower after a workout is highly recommended if you are trying to lose weight. When you take a cold shower, your body temperature naturally drops, and it will need to warm up again right after. This process burns calories and gives your metabolism a post-training boost. As a result, you will be able to help create a calorie deficit even after working out. Also, this very same process activates the brown fat deposits, which are mostly situated around the neck and shoulder area. Once activated, they generate the necessary heat to warm up your body again, and in doing so they burn off more calories too.
Go Hot Right After
To get the maximum benefits of a post-workout cold shower, you need to go hot. Making the water hot right after a cold wash helps muscle and joint recovery by flushing out the lactic acid that has built up, along with inflammatory cells, dead cells, and scar tissues. A cold shower stiffens muscles and joints to alleviate pain, while a hot shower ensures that this same stiffness does not persist. Moreover, the heat will help relax your body more as it slows down your heart rate and stimulates the release of happy hormones.
See If It Works
While we recommend post-workout cold showers (and the hot shower right after), it will still be up to you to decide whether or not this recovery process is working for you. After all, every body is different, and they respond differently to certain things. So, if this suggestion of ours helps you out, then make it part of your routine. If not, we’ll have something else for you next time to help maximise those gains.