Energy boost from cold morning showers

Dr Yossi Rathner has been featured in The Age's Sunday Life magazine to comment on the effect of noradrenaline on alertness when taking a cold shower.

Although cold showers in the morning are not for the faint of heart, they may provide a number of physical and mental health benefits according to Dr Yossi Rathner (Department of Physiology). Cold showers trigger the high density of cold receptors in our skin, which is theorised to flood the brain with electrical impulses, providing an antidepressant effect.

Dr Rathner (current Lecturer of Physiology) was contacted by Sunday Life magazine, which is included within the Sun-Herald and Sunday Age newspapers, to provide comment on the physiological basis for the boost of energy many people report after having an icy shower.

A photo of the article featuring Dr Yossi Ranther in Sunday Life magazine

“There is some evidence that cold showers will increase blood levels of noradrenaline – which indicates increased sympathetic nerve activity and increased arousal,” he said.

“Repeated cold exposure can help promote increased energy expenditure, which may facilitate weight loss and associated health benefits. While a short cold shower may be part of the regimen, these benefits have only been seen with longer and mild cold exposure – about an hour per day at 18°C – over many weeks.

“We might predict additional health benefits as a result of increasing energy expenditure, but rigorous studies have not been undertaken. Cold exposure also may have physiological benefit in exercise recovery, where cold is thought to reduce inflammation caused by muscle injury.”

Dr Rathner noted that there is currently no scientific proof of the long-term health benefits of short cold showers in the morning.

Read the full article in the Sydney Morning Herald:

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