This Sounds Like Fun

You can save water too!
You can save water too!
Before we begin today, I need to take a moment to stare goggle eyed at Florida. At St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach a kid, and I mean teenager, passed himself off as a doctor. Not just any doctor either. He pretended to be an OB/GYN. That’s right, a young man, who turns out to be off his meds, was presenting himself to patients as a doctor. Fortunately he was too incompetent or scared to actually to treat a human so no harm was done. But how does this happen? When I was in the hospital last October every doctor I met had an ID card hanging on their shirt and knew the other doctors in the room with me. How many doctors do they have down there that no one noticed him? By the way, he didn’t do this once or twice. He was there every day for a month before a real doctor got suspicious. Just one more thing to worry about I guess. Maybe they didn’t know that Doogie Howser was fiction. It’s the only thing I can think of.

Speaking of your health – I am the segue king, after all – a new study has come out that may make you want to change the way you shower.

Phil Dumontet, over at Entrepreneur, posted this a couple of days ago and I decided to try it before I posted it online. While bracing in the extreme the first time you do it, you get used to it. And, yes, I did feel a hell of a lot better when I was done.

You’ll spend about 4,000 hours of your adult life showering — possibly more time than you spend reading, exercising or watching TV — but chances are, you’ve been doing it wrong.

If you take a morning shower, you probably think it energizes you for the day, but it can actually have the opposite effect.

In fact, a hot shower or bath is what many doctors recommend for people who have trouble falling asleep — to help them fall asleep. The reason: Emerging from a hot shower into cooler air brings a sudden decrease in body temperature, leading to a tranquil state of mind. This is helpful when you’re looking to fall asleep but not what you need before you start your day.

If your goal is to wake up in your morning shower, then you need to make a 90-second tweak.

The secret lies in the contrast. Here’s how to do it:

Once you’ve finished your normal cleaning ritual, crank the nozzle as cold as it goes, and stand under the water for about 30 seconds. Feel free to gasp or scream if it helps (some say it does).

After 30 seconds, turn the water up as hot as you can stand for another 30 seconds. This opens up the capillaries, increases blood flow and provides an all-around sense of stimulation.

Finally, cap it off with one more cycle of icy cold. Always end on cold.

You might be asking, “Why would I put myself through such discomfort first thing in the morning?” Because it works.

Hot and cold hydrotherapy has been used for thousands of years. In Finland, the sauna isn’t a luxury; it’s a necessity. The country is home to 2 million saunas (for a population of 5 million) with 99 percent of Finns enjoying the stress-relieving benefits of the sauna at least once a week.

I trust the Finns and scientific research provides further confirmation. Studies have shown that it provides a full-body tune-up, including:

Reduced stress: In a study on free radicals, 10 healthy subjects swam regularly in ice-cold water and showed adaptation to oxidative stress and hardening (an increased tolerance to stress). When building a business, combating stress is crucial for achieving clarity of mind.

A stronger immune system: Another study found that taking daily cold showers increases the number of disease-fighting white blood cells. In an attempt to warm up, the body speeds up its metabolic rate and activates the immune system, releasing more white blood cells.

Improved blood circulation: When exposed to cold water, our arteries and veins constrict. This temporary tightening allows blood to flow at a higher pressure, which is great for cardiovascular health.

Increased ability to burn fat: Research shows that cold-induced glucose uptake results in the creation of brown fat cells, which create warmth, burn energy and keep you slim.

Aid in battling depression: A 2008 study found that adapted cold showers stimulate the sympathetic nervous system and increase beta-endorphin levels in the blood. They send a high level of electrical impulses from peripheral nerve endings to the brain, which could produce an anti-depressant effect.

While trying out this new routine, you should fully expect discomfort but be equally prepared to start your day feeling more refreshed than ever before.

One thing I can’t emphasize enough is that the first time you hit the cold you feel like you’ve been hit with a hammer. Once you get past that you’ll be fine.

That said, if you’re taking heart meds you might want to skip this. It does make your rhythmic organ bounce a little.

Listen to Bill McCormick on WBIG (FOX! Sports) every Friday around 9:10 AM.
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