Most people are well aware of the benefits of drinking plenty of water throughout the day and especially during heavy physical activity or extreme heat. But something many individuals don’t realize is that ice cold water has quite a lot of benefits. Both long and short-term.
Some people drink ice cold water simply because they prefer the taste and feeling of the frigid refreshment. However, its benefits go far beyond temperature preference. In fact, there are several situations when it’s better for your body to drink ice cold water. Cold water helps regulate your body temperature, particularly when you are involved in intense activity or exercise. Your body actually absorbs cold water more quickly than it does warm water, which can help you rehydrate at a faster rate if dehydration is a concern. While people usually get their ice from refrigerators, recent developments in technology have made it easier to drink cold water wherever you might be by using an ice maker.
In addition to helping with temperature regulation and rehydration, ice cold water supports your health in several other ways. Check out a few reasons why you should incorporate ice in your daily activities.
1. Increase Metabolism
Whether you’re drinking it, swimming in it, or bathing in it, cold water has a dramatic effect on the number of calories you burn as well as the speed of your metabolism. In each of these examples, your body has to work harder to maintain its normal temperature, and as it does, it significantly increases your metabolism.
2. Enhances the Appearance of Skin
You’re probably like most people and tend to believe that hot water is best to use when washing your skin, including your face. But the reality is that cold water is actually better for you skin. As a matter of fact, hot water strips your skin of its natural oils while cold water maintains them. Cold water on your skin also causes blood to rush to the surface, which gives you a natural, healthy glow.
3. Improves Energy Level
We’ve all seen the bucket-in-the-face tactic on cartoons, and while it’s indeed funny to watch, it’s also effective in real life. Cold water activates temperature sensors just beneath our skin. When these sensors are activated, they function to increase your heart rate and send a rush of adrenaline throughout your body – waking you up and helping you feel more energized.
4. Enhances Mood
Alright, so if a bucket of water in your face isn’t really your thing, then avoid it. Nonetheless, it might be a good idea to not miss out on the mood enhancing effect of ice cold water. As crazy as it may sound, there’s some science as to why cold water improves your mood. The orbitofrontal cortex is the ‘pleasure region’ of the brain. When you ingest things that are cold, like ice cream or cold beverages, this region of your brain is stimulated and makes you feel happier.
5. Reduces Pain
You already know that cold water triggers that adrenaline rush that makes you feel more awake and alive, but ice water also functions to reduce pain by taking your mind off of minor aches and pains. Not only that, but sitting or soaking an injury in an ice bath reduces the flow of blood to the muscles, allowing them to fill back up with fresh, more oxygenated blood that reduces soreness and promotes healing.
6. Boosts Immune Function
Cold water and immune function seem a bit counterintuitive, right? In fact, though, cold water is an extremely effective way to stimulate immune function and promote better health. When your body is exposed to cold water, it puts your system in a state of mild stress. Your body views this level of stress as somewhat of a mini “workout” and reacts in the same way that it would to the actual physical activity of a workout. As your body responds, it builds immunity to combat actual health threats. In fact, individuals who make it a habit to shower in cold water for 2-3 minutes at least 3 times a week have been found to have much higher white blood cell counts than those who don’t.
7. Regulates Your Hormones
It’s no secret that hormones have a major impact on all aspects of your health, but most people don’t realize that water has a significant impact on their hormones, particularly testosterone and estrogen. Not only that, but taking a cold shower with some frequency – 3 or more times a week – may even improve your sex drive with an increase in your hormone levels. So instead of “heating it up,” focus a little more on cooling it down.
If you thought that water was just about drinking enough and staying hydrated, hopefully you now recognize what a variety of benefits cold water provides for your health. It doesn’t just taste better, it also promotes clearer skin, more energy, better immunity, and more. So the next time you go for a glass, make sure to add a few ice cubes to it, and don’t be afraid to turn down the temperature on your shower. Your body will thank you – inside and out!