This question has intrigued experts for the longest time.
It has even incited our own version of Civil War, though the characters are arguably worse-off than the Marvel versions.
Captain America: Cold showers are the best!
Iron Man: Hot showers are the best!
And then they fight and all hell break loose. You get the drill.
To avoid a Goody Feed Civil War, we went to find out.
Let’s get started with Captain America’s favourite: cold showers.
For starters, cold showers are known to do two things: boost alertness AND enhance your mood. I don’t know about you but they can do wonders for a long day at work.
They can even grant you glowing hair and skin!
But to get to how beneficial cold showers can get, I’ll have to get a little more specific.
Which leads on to the next point.
Cold Shower Benefits for Athletes
It’s no coincidence that world-famous athletes such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Lebron James are frequent practitioners of ice baths.
It really helps post-workout recovery.
In a 2018 meta-analysis pertaining to post-exercise recovery techniques, cold water treatment was found to be ONE of the greatest ways to lower inflammation and muscle fatigue.
In fact, cold water immersion actually managed to reduce participants’ view of pain and fatigue up to 96 hours after exercise, as compared to non-cold recovery.
So if you’re a fitness buff who fancies yourself as the next CR7, ice-cold baths may just be your thing.
Also, cold showers could potentially boost weight loss too!
Cold Shower Reduces Itching
If you’re not already aware, cold showers can actually reduce itching because of their cooling, anti-inflammatory effect.
This is supported by an Associate Professor of Dermatology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, who has this to say: “It helps overcome the feeling of itch, whether with a cold shower, ice packs, or a cool bath.”
But here’s the golden question.
Does it work for all kinds of itches, including “mouth itchiness”?
Well we doubt it will do wonders for your snacking tendencies, but you can always try.
Cold Shower Could Enhance Your Immune System
Did you know that cold showers could actually make you stronger in the long run?
According to researchers, cold water could incite a low-tier stress response from the immune system, which helps to “assemble” resilience.
Thereafter, when an illness actually attacks your body, you will be better-equipped to handle it.
Back in 2016, a study showed that even 30 to 90 seconds of cold water towards the end of your shower could reduce sick day absences at work.
In addition, cold water is said to tighten the blood flow, which gives your skin a healthier glow.
And as it closes and empowers your hair cuticles, your hair may even become stronger and healthier over time!
No wonder Captain America always says, “I can do it all day.”
But if you want to chao keng, well you know la hor.
And then on the other end of the spectrum, we have the billionaire playboy’s favourite: hot showers.
Now, hot showers are undoubtedly the common favourite here, seeing how they don’t literally freeze your guts out every time you get in the shower.
But are they actually better for you?
At the risk of alienating Captain America here, we aim to find out more.
Hot Showers Relax Muscles
So cold water immersion may speed up muscle recovery.
But it seems that over here, hot water immersion isn’t doing that bad as well.
Capable of relaxing muscles and enhancing recovery, they could also serve to reduce muscle damage.
Back in 2014, a study showed that submerging your legs in hot water for 45 minutes before a workout could actually lessen muscle soreness and damage after exercising.
Talk about a literal “warm-up”.
Hot Showers Soothe Respiratory Symptoms
Struggling with a stuffy nose? Well, first, go take a COVID-19 test, and if you’re negative, then a hot shower could just be your thing.
According to the Lung Health Institute, the steam produced from hot showers could actually slacken the phlegm in your throat and nose, thus alleviating you of your stuffy nose syndrome.
Do take note, however, that the steam can prove harmful for those suffering from chronic lung conditions.
Hot Showers Enhance Sleep
If you’re someone with insomnia, a 20-minute long hot shower in the hours before bed could really help you out.
In 2019, it was found that taking a hot shower around 90 minutes before bed could adjust the body’s circadian rhythm, thereby improving the quality of sleep.
You’ll also likely nod off sooner too!
Cons of Cold and Hot Showers
But of course, each has its own cons.
Hot showers, for instance, could easily dry out your skin.
They could also make people itchier due to the substance histamine, which is triggered by hot showers.
Also, they could increase your blood pressure.
And then on the other hand, cold showers are really… well… cold – so cold that some say even CR7 screams when the cold water touches his skin. It’s also less relaxing than its hot counterpart, so there’s a certain level of mental stress right there.
And suffice to say; they aren’t the best options to take when you’re sick.
So… Which One’s Better?
In the end, there’s no clear winner here. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, and there’s no clear margin to decide the victor here.
It’s almost like asking a person whether Captain America or Iron Man is the true hero in Endgame.
However, what we can say with confidence is that the answer is likely to rest somewhere in between.
So if you’re confused, a lukewarm shower may be the way to go.
Captain America: That solves things.
Iron Man: About time.
Captain America: Hey, wanna take a lukewarm shower together?
Iron Man: Right behind you.
Question solved? Well, probably.
Featured Image: ben bryant / Shutterstock.com