Ice baths are a hot longevity tip

An ice bath might not be comfortable but it can be a great anti-aging tool. Let’s jump right in.

Want to live a long healthy life? You could do much worse than taken a leaf out of the book of Edward Rondthaler. He swore by cold showers every morning.

He’s not alone.

Ice baths are hot at the moment. Everywhere you look someone is extolling the virtues of plunging yourself into a cold shower or an icy bath. The Nordic nations have been saying this for centuries, so should the rest of us give it a go?

Reduce fat
Want to lose weight? Take a cold shower. According to some studies, cold water treatment could be the key to the country’s obesity epidemic. Exposure to cold, they say, encourages the formation of active brown fat. Unlike white fat which most of us has, this burns calories from food.

The cold will also make you shiver which in turn will burn calories and can also speed up your metabolism. One study showed that exposure to cold could accelerate your metabolism up by to 80%.

Improves your mood
Perhaps it’s just because, if you start your day with a freezing cold shower, things can’t get any worse, but cold water can improve your mood. This is partly because a cold shower will invigorate your mind which naturally puts you in a better mood. It stimulates nerves on the skin, firing up your mind, and helps your body use oxygen more effectively.

Studies also show that hydrotherapy can reduce stress hormones such as cortisol and alleviate symptoms of depression. Although not a cure for depression in itself, it can help to alleviate some symptoms and lead to short term improvements. For example, when you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, splashing cold water onto your face can help.

Mental resilience
A little challenge now and again never did anyone any harm. Immersing your whole body in water for minutes at a time is a challenge. It takes you out of your comfort zone and provides a healthy shock to the system.

Being able to control your impulses can help you feel stronger mentally and deal with some of the curve balls life likes to throw at us. It builds self-control and helps you set goals, boundaries and achieve your aspirations.

Forever young?
Okay, it might not exactly be the fountain of eternal youth, but hot showers can strip away some of the essential oils which keep your skin looking youthful. While it feels nice, hot water is no friend to your skin.

This is the largest organ in your body. Heat damages this essential barrier and can leave you looking older. Cold water tightens the cuticle layer which will help it look shinier and more youthful for longer.

Helping you live longer
Last but not least, all these help benefits help you life a longer and altogether happier life. According to one study worms live longer when kept at 21°C rather than 27°C.

Cold water reduces stress, helps your body burn fat, puts you in a better mood, keeps you looking young, boosts your immune system and helps you deal with the trials of everyday life. All of that serves to keep you healthier for longer. Some studies even suggest it can boost survival rates of various types of cancer.

So for a longer, happier and healthier life, it pays to follow the example of Mr Rondthaler and jump in an ice cold shower. Brrrrr!

Image credit: Kaichankava Larysa / Shutterstock and Adam Zihla / Shutterstock

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