One thing that many athletes have in common is taking a shower after a workout. After a training session, you want to freshen up and taking a shower is the best approach. The big question that many people ask, should you take a cold shower or a warm shower?
Other fitness professionals swear by recovery showers which alternate the temperatures from hot to cold. This is an ideal way to boost muscular recovery and circulation. This means that there is no correct answer as to whether you should take a cold or hot shower after a workout because people are different and their bodies react differently to therapies.
It is important to understand the impact of cold and hot showers after a workout. This article will cover the two types of showers in details so that you can know the advantages and disadvantages of each. With the right information, it will be easy for you to know whether you should take a cold shower, hot shower or recovery shower.
Taking cold showers after workout
If you talk to many fitness professionals and experts, they will recommend cold shower or ice bath after a workout. Why? They say that taking a cold shower after a workout when you are sweaty and hot cools your body fast and even.
When the temperatures drop, then the blood flow is directed to important organs and this helps the muscles to repair themselves. In medical terms, this is what they refer to as vasoconstriction. The cold water will narrow the blood vessels as well as lower the temperature of the tissues that were damaged.
Additionally, cold water works well in preventing swelling and bruising from fluid and waste buildup. Taking a cold shower is also an effective way of shaking the post-workout slumps. Other benefits of taking cold shower include the following:
- It calms an itchy skin
- Boosts weight loss
- Increases circulation
- Reduces muscle soreness after a workout
- Leaves your hair and skin glowing
The cons of cold showers
Taking a cold shower might not be ideal if you are sick because it can be hard on your immune system. Also, if you are already cold, a cold shower is not recommended because it will take too long for you to warm your body back.
Taking hot showers after a workout
Did you know that taking a hot shower increases the blood flow in your muscles while cold water does the opposite? Taking a hot shower stimulates the flow of blood to the skin and soothes muscles. When there is an increased blood flow, lactic acid is dispersed from the body and this helps in reducing muscle aches.
In most cases, you will even see people using heat locally reduce muscle pain. I would advise you to avoid applying heat to damaged tissues. Instead, you can use ice or get treatment. Heat works well in relieving pain but ice does best in the healing process and you can go back to the gym faster.
In as much as we cannot compare the health benefits of hot and cold and hot shower after a bath, taking hot baths after a workout gives you a nice feeling and you feel relaxed. Other benefits of hot water baths include:
- Gives you relief from respiratory symptoms
- Relaxes your muscles
- Help you deal with blemishes
Cons of hot shower
Hot shower has some cons too. It can irritate your skin and make some skin conditions severe. Hot water can also make you too itch or increase the blood pressure.
What do professionals say?
Unfortunately, there are different views on the type of water to use after a workout. Studies carried out make it even more confusing by advocating for contrast water therapy. This means that you alternate between hot water and cold water repeatedly to dilate or constrict blood vessels. This is crucial in removing waste products from the body as well as stimulating recovery time.
For many people, they look forward to cooling down and freshen up after a workout. Many serious athletes will prefer a cold shower to hot shower considering its health benefits. If you have any health issues, you can consider seeking guidance from a fitness trainer or a doctor.
When you are well informed, it will be easy for you to determine whether you want a cold shower or hot shower after a workout. For the best experience, ensure you read several electric shower reviews online to find a suitable shower.
Emily is founder of BodyShape101.com, a blog where she and her associates talk about exercise, fitness, and yoga. Their aim is to help people like you to achieve perfect body. BodyShape101 is concentrated on exercise & fitness tips, and making the most out of it. She is also a mother of one and she tries to find balance between her passion and her biggest joy in life.