I recently read an interesting article in the New York times titled "The benefits of getting an icy start to the day". The New York Times is the obvious daily paper to read when you live in Edinburgh. The article is written around someone that has started taking ice cold showers first thing in the morning. The author starts by having a normal shower and when finished getting washed turns the water temperature all the way down to cold (as possible). I realise to most people this sounds like madness.
The first time I read about having cold showers in the morning it was in a book called the four hour body, by Tim Ferris. His mixture of no-carbs, protein diet is mainly for weight loss and muscle building and he also discusses the merits of having a cold shower each day.
What are these merits? Well, apparently it can enhance your mood (as an anti-depressant), make you more aware, increase your circulation, reduce your stress and stimulate weight loss.
I have just completed day 8 of these cold showers. There is no doubt in my head whatsoever that it certainly makes you more aware, as soon as the cold hits you your heart rate plummets until you accept that this is happening and you start breathing again ;-) It's not an easy thing to do.
It reminds me of my field trips to Greenland. Due to the camp location you had to cross a river every morning and every afternoon on the way back. Doesn't sound to bad until you get in and the water is actually glacial meltwater and that it takes around 20-30 minutes to cross the river. You cannot feel your feet by the time you arrive at the other side. Doing this twice a day is not easy.
Back to the article in The Times, the article also included a recording of Carl Richards (the author of the article) talking about cold showers and the virtues of doing hard things first. Apparently if you do something hard first thing in the morning then you are more likely to tackle problems better during the rest of the day. I find the idea interesting.
If you don't read the article or listen to the audio, I think this is the most important take awayfrom it:
"The world is full of hard and scary things. We are at our best when we can tackle them bravely and confidently, not when we are accustomed to shying away. Set your alarm for two minutes earlier, get in the shower and before you turn it off, put it on cold. Think of it, quite literally, as stepping out of your comfort zone. It may be really hard, but just remember that most good things are."