Take a warm shower and finish with a cold shower for the last 15 seconds. Relax and breathe slowly and evenly while you are in the cold.
Yesterday, we talked about how the body reacts to stress. What we’re getting with cold showers is a safe, controlled way to awaken a dormant capability of the cardiovascular system to deal with environmental stress … a much healthier response than the constant fight-or-flight mode.
Our vascular system has countless tiny muscles that are meant to help blood run easily and naturally through our system, bringing energy and life to every cell. But because of our physically comfortable yet mentally stressful lives, this incredible system of muscles has fallen out of use.
The result: our hearts have to bear the full burden of circulation. No wonder heart disease has become such an issue in our modern times!
How does this all relate to cold showers? As Wim says, “When you take a cold shower, all of those little muscles in your vascular system are activated and exercised.” Time and again, people who practice this method show a decrease in average heart rate—because the whole vascular system has started to take up the slack!
We’ll be talking more about what this means in the coming days. For now, when you do your conscious breathing and turn your shower to cold for 15 seconds, just know that you’re doing a wonderful thing for your courageous, hard-working heart.
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