One year of cold showers

December 8, 2014 by Joshua
in Exercises, Habits, SIDCHAs

I almost missed the anniversary of starting my thirty days of cold showers last December, followed by taking cold showers every fourth day since. That comes out to about 75 cold showers, the coldest reaching 39.9F, the first thirty being at least five minutes long.

Most people, thinking about the physical discomfort of a cold shower, dismiss the activity as crazy. Some sincerely ask about it. A small number act on it. The two or three people I know who have acted on it also found the activity incredibly rewarding. I’ve written before about the differences between physical pleasure and emotional reward. In most cases I prefer the reward and will sacrifice pleasure to create more of it, which cold showers do. (Usually I like both, but in this case sacrificing pleasure gives me enough more reward to make it easily worth it.)

I’ll note that taking cold showers has not gotten any easier with practice. Only the warm summer months’ warming the water made it easier. What changed is my ability to do things I want to even when my emotions try to steer me away from it.


Taking cold showers regularly led me to the concept of the SIDCHA, which simplified how to improve my life far more than I could have expected.

Probably the biggest result of the showers has been my change in diet. Cutting out most sugars and foods with fiber removed resulted naturally from the habit. Otherwise, I expect I would have taken longer.

In this year I also increased my daily burpees from 40 a day to 52, a 30% increase, which the cold showers influenced, since sets of 26 are hard.

The biggest result of the change in diet and burpees has been my near six-pack abs, which, at 43, I was surprised to see emerging. Now I don’t think of a 43-year-old having a six-pack as surprising, but a natural result of healthy eating and exercise habits. Cold showers help you sustain healthy habits.

Not that I had much alcohol before, but seeing the definition in the abs led me to drink less alcohol too. I like the taste of wine, beer, and scotch, but not as much as I like the emotional reward of a healthy body.

Every time before getting in the cold water I don’t want to do it—with nearly every motivation in me. It takes all the willpower I can muster every time. Amazingly, after every cold shower I feel invigorated, refreshed, excited, and glad I did it.

Come to think of it, I feel the same way after doing most things I don’t want to do emotionally but do physically.

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