Like a Shock to the System – A Cold One!

No matter how good we are, we can always do better.  That is the mantra that I find myself running through every day.  It is truly remarkable how our lives can adjust to accommodate for nearly any stressor, or influence, given enough exposure to it.  However, once something becomes routine, we experience growth to a diminishing degree.  Because of this, it is oftentimes necessary to find something to introduce some pain into your otherwise comfortable process.  You need to shock your system.

The first thing that comes to mind when I think about this is an idea I got from a blog that I follow.  At ImpossibleHQ, there was a post written about starting your day with an ice cold shower.  Joel Runyon identifies many health benefits associated with this approach, and I recommend that everyone should read through it.  The first time I tried it was an interesting story, and I do not recommend my approach to anyone.

I had been working out at a local gym, and it had become my daily routine to workout at 5am until 6am.  Then I would shower there, dress, then head off to work.  This particular morning they had a water heater break down.  I had been meaning to try Joel’s ice-cold-shower therapy, so I strode proudly past the other guys in the locker room.  There was no way I was letting this ruin my morning.  I am pretty sure that when I walked past, someone even said “I wish I could be like him.”  Admittedly, the heat was on full blast over there so the fans were loud.

I whipped open the curtain to the shower and turned on the water.  Habit, and a newfound hesitation, had me standing there waiting to see if maybe I could squeeze out just a little extra degree of warmth from that water.  It dawned on me, at this point, that this really was not the best idea I had come up with.  However, I was not walking back through the locker room dry.  I had a reputation to think about and a shock to experience.  With that, I hung my towel with my dopp kit, and walked right in.  The water hit my shoulders and went down my side and gave this deceiving notion that it really was tolerable.

I did not truly appreciate the gravity of my situation until I turned to face the water.  Once it hit my chest, the chilled sensation seized my lungs forcing an uncontrollable gasp that was met with laughter from the locker area.  I’m still not ready to give up, though, so I quickly think to myself to just turn around to have the water hit my back.  After all, the shock won’t repeat itself, right?  This proved to elicit the same reaction when I sent chills to the back of my lungs.

Some notes that I wanted to share, from this experience:

  • Shampoo does not lather well in cold water.  This also applies to soap.
  • Working water heaters mean that you can control how cold you want your cold water therapy to be.
  • People with a heart problem should talk to their doctor before attempting this.
  • Do this in the privacy of your own home until you know how much you’ll embarrass yourself doing it in public.

I strongly recommend this to anyone that feels every day is starting the same.  This will absolutely add some variety, and maybe some expletives, to your morning.

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