WHY DO ICE BATHS WORK FOR MUSCLE RECOVERY?
What are the benefits of taking an ice bath, and how do I make sure I am doing it correctly?
Do you ever feel sore after a challenging workout? If so, you're not alone. Working out can cause microscopic muscle damage, so taking some time for muscle recovery is essential. One popular way to speed up the healing process is by taking an ice bath. But what exactly is going on when your body reacts to cold water? Keep reading to find out!
WHAT IS AN ICE BATH?
An ice bath is a method used in sports therapy, where the human body is submerged in a bath of ice water. This is done for a limited duration of time and is used to relieve sore and burning muscles.
Also known as cold water immersion (CWI), ice baths are believed to accomplish the following:
- Facilitate recovery
- Decrease soreness
- Reduce the risk of injury by speeding recovery and allowing you to be better prepared for the next workout
When in cold water, blood vessels constrict. Another beneficial part of the process comes after the cold stimulus has been removed. During this warming period, blood floods the cells with nutrients and oxygen and helps to flush out the waste products of tissue breakdown.
HOW TO TAKE AN ICE BATH
Ice baths should always be done post-workout, never prior. At the start, ice baths will not be a pleasant experience. However, with time, your body can build up a tolerance which makes it easier.
Some easy steps to taking an ice bath are:
- Fill a tub with cold water and add one to three bags of ice. The temperature of an ice bath should typically be around 50-59 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Wearing clothing in the ice bath will help protect your skin.
- Do not stay in the bath for more than 15 minutes! Set an alarm to ensure this time is not exceeded to prevent numbness and fatigue.
- Ease into the bath slowly while breathing deeply, as the cold water can be a shock.
- Exit the bath slowly, dry off, and put on the clothing you have set aside to warm up. Have your post-bath clothing ready to help bring your body temperature back up.
Along with potentially reducing muscle soreness and increasing recovery, there are other benefits that ice baths have to offer.
- Better sleep: Ice baths may improve your sleep, strengthening the central nervous system.
- Stress management: Exposure to very cold temperatures can improve the brain's ability to cope with discomfort and stressful environmental changes, improving how you handle stress.
- Cooling: Like taking a cold shower, ice baths can help cool the body down, aiding in relief.
These effects add up to a quicker return to peak performance after an intense workout. So next time you're feeling sore after a tough training session, consider taking an ice bath instead of popping another ibuprofen. You may be pleasantly surprised at the results.
Please consult your physician to ensure an ice bath is safe for you. There are risks for those with conditions that impact their ability to regulate body temperature.
The acronym, R.I.C.E., stands for Rest, Ice, Compress, and Elevate. Besides an ice bath,
can also increase your recovery and heal muscles faster.
Body Helix compression products are designed to be the most flexible material while providing maximum support and promoting healing. Compression improves blood flow to affected muscles, which significantly aids in recovery.
We have compression products for the whole body and guarantee that our compression gear will be the most comfortable and effective you have ever used. Elevate your recovery and explore compression products for you.
At Body Helix, we start with an unapologetic obsession for exceptional quality and make innovative products to serve athletes of all levels. We believe in and promote salutogenesis. Your wellness is our primary directive. We continually research to provide reliable information and actionable tips to optimize your fitness.
Be well, my friends.
Andrew Pucket, Director of Marketing
Team Body Helix