Ice baths. Some of us have done them. Some of us are still skeptical of whether or not the 10-15 minutes of freezing it worth it.
The verdict: They work. Here’s why.
Cryotherapy (application of cold) is a widely known practice amongst runners – particularly following intense exercise. Most muscle damage after intense/long bouts of activity are caused because of compromised circulation – which means there is less oxygen getting to the muscles. Immersion into cold/icy water will cause a vasoconstriction of the arterioles and venules (small arteries and vessels) in the area. By doing so, it slows down the metabolic rate of the muscles and helps prevent any further damage caused by this and in turn decreases recovery time. The cold also helps reduce further swelling and decreases the amount of waste products (which act as irritants to your muscles) created post exercise.
To recap, Ice baths are good because they help decrease recovery time and decrease waste product created by metabolism, which in turn decreases “soreness” the next few days.
Tips to make your ice bath more comfortable:
- Drink warm tea
- Wear warm clothing – I usually wear a hoodie and a long sleeve shirt before getting in.
- No need to stay in any longer than 12-15 minutes.
Remember: The first 3 minutes are the worst. If you can get through these, you are golden! Enjoy!