Fewer sick days
Sniffling your way through cold and flu season? When it comes to battling common illnesses, it’s a two-pronged approach: Avoid all the germs you can and strengthen your immune system for those (awful) occasions when your coworker comes in with the stomach flu or your kid sneezes right into your face. (These habits boost your immune function.) And when it comes to fortifying your body’s defenses against germs, science has a new weapon—cold showers. Ending your daily shower with an icy blast can help reduce the number of sick days you take by 30 percent, according to a new study published in the journal PLOS ONE. Participants who turned the faucet to cool for 30 to 90 seconds at the end of each shower not only took fewer sick days but strangely also reported less anxiety and a slightly better sense of life satisfaction. (If you can make it through a minute in cold water then that big project suddenly seems less scary, perhaps?)
Less body fat
Here’s a strange-but-true scenario: Wearing your bathing suit in the snow may actually help you look better in said bathing suit. Enduring cold temperatures has been shown to change the way the body metabolizes fat, changing unhealthy yellow fat into “active” brown fat and leading to weight loss and fat loss, according to research published by the National Institutes of Health. In addition, you burn extra calories in the cold as your body expends more energy to stay at its preferred 98.6 degrees. There isn’t much research into cold-bathing as a long-term tactic but that hasn’t stopped some people from using “cold water therapy” or “shiver systems” to successfully lose weight, at least in the short term. Whether you prefer cold showers to more traditional weight loss methods is up to you though. Here’s how to lose fat without diet or exercise and here’s more on how brown fat affects metabolism.