Can Cold Shower Benefits Muscle Growth After Workout

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You ‘ve heard guys talk about it but can cold shower really benefits muscle growth after a workout? You’re not going to believe what you hear right away. So, you go online and search about it. Well, we’re glad you found this article. Let’s go straight into the topic.

Benefits of Cold Shower and Muscle Growth Relation

Let’s first take a look at the biggest claim; cold showers increase testosterone. And with a quick observation of related studies, it’s quite conclusive that the effects of cold showers on testosterone are negligible at best.

In fact, some suggest that cold water immersion might actually decrease serum testosterone. Along the same lines of possible negative effects from cold showers in comparison to using active recovery, such as low-intensity cardio cycling, cold water can hinder muscle building factors such as T-building luteinizing hormones, muscle satellite cells, and muscle protein synthesis via inhibiting the mTOR pathway.

Cold water has been shown to increase T-helper cells and lymphocytes, which can improve your immune system. There’s also some indication that it can increase antioxidants, but the effect tends to dissipate over time.

The Research

With research showing increases of beta-endorphins and electrical impulses to the brain, cold showers might also have an anti-depressive effect.

In terms of fitness, there is a chance that taking cold showers can help burn more fat. It will do so by activating brown fat when you’re cold to keep you warm. Also, when coming into contact with cold water, you’ll notice that initially and respond in shock. This response is explained by cold activating your sympathetic nervous system, or also known as ‘fight or flight system,’ which will drive up alertness. This can hypothetically be a great benefit for those that shower in the morning and need a little jolt of wakefulness.

The trade-off for less growth in order to be less sore is something to consider. It is important to mention that almost all of these studies used cold water immersions, such as sitting in a cold, temperature-controlled bath. Which is not the same as taking a cold shower, where the water runs down the entire body and the exact temperature is unknown. Whether these different cooling methods will generate similar results is up for debate.

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The Studies – Cold-Water Immersion or Cold Shower after Exercise

A studied done on The effect of cold-water immersion or cold shower for preventing and treating muscle soreness after exercise. Evidence have shown that cold-water immersion reduces delayed onset muscle soreness after exercise.

However, few studies have assessed whether regular cold water immersion (CWI) after each exercise session influences long-term training adaptations to exercise training. Several studies have indicated that cold water immersion attenuates gains in strength, muscle endurance capacity and brachial artery diameter after 4−5 weeks of strength training. Conversely, other studies have demonstrated that cold water immersion augmented strength gains after 5 days of strength training.

So, what’s the verdict on Cold Shower vs Hot Shower?

For those that are seeing good results from their workouts while taking hot showers, then there’s no need to change anything. In the end, just make to sure you don’t forget to take a shower regardless if it’s hot or cold.

What type of shower do you prefer hot or cold? Please feel free to share your thoughts below.

Reference:

  1. Geert A. Buijze, Inger N. Sierevelt, Bas C. J. M. van der Heijden, Marcel G. Dijkgraaf, and Monique H. W. Frings-Dresen.  2016 Sep 15. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0161749. PMID: 27631616
  2. Llion A Roberts, Truls Raastad, James F Markworth, Vandre C Figueiredo, Ingrid M Egner, Anthony Shield, David Cameron-Smith, Jeff S Coombes, and Jonathan M Peake. 2015 Aug 13. doi: 10.1113/JP270570. PMID: 26174323

 

 

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