Ice bathing is a type of cryotherapy and is the immersing of part or all of your body in cold iced water to help alleviate symptoms after a hard workout or sporting event. It gained popularity with athletes after winning the 10,000-metre event at the 2002 European Championships, marathon runner Paula Radcliffe claimed that it helped her body recover quickly after a race and that some athletes “swear by it”.
Cold-water immersion therapy has been used for therapeutic purposes for thousands of years. It was used by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans not just for medicinal purposes but for relaxation and socializing purposes.
How ice baths work for your body
Although the supposed effectiveness of ice baths is questionable, there is evidence to suggest that they help with recovery after intense workouts or sports such as long-distance running, or athletic events such as gymnastics or weightlifting. Other athletes that compete in sports with constant stopping and starting such as cricket also make use of the ice baths where one can assume Big Bash League tips are discussed. The coldness of the icy water is supposed to help to lower elevated body temperature and constrict blood vessels which reduces swelling and thus less inflammation and pain.
Ice baths have a range of purported benefits:
- Relieve stress: Some studies have shown that ice baths can boost the functionality of your central nervous system which can help you feel generally better. Cold immersion can also stimulate the Vagus Nerve which is responsible, among other things, for lowering the heart rate.
- Boost circulation: Plunging into an ice bath will stimulate your circulatory system, sending more blood and nutrients to vital organs to keep them healthier.
- Lowers core body temperature: Overheating can be a problem for a lot of athletes especially in places when it is hot. Your body will heat up much quicker in these conditions, and an ice bath has been shown to be a quick and effective way to lower your body temperature and thus avoid hyperthermia and heat stroke.
It is not recommended to take ice baths or any sort of cold-water immersion before any sort of sport participation or workouts. Your muscles and organs need to be warm to function properly when you are doing intense physical work.
How to take an ice bath
It is recommended that you get into an ice bath as soon as possible after you have finished your training or sporting event. It is important to make sure the baths are prepared very carefully. The temperature should be between 10°-15° Celsius and you should only bathe for 10 to 15 minutes and no longer. You should have someone with you in case of an issue such as muscle fatigue or numbness which will result in you being weakened, so you may need help getting out of the bath and walking. Make sure you warm back up soon after your ice bath so as not to have any adverse effects such as stiff muscles.
Remember, ice baths are not for everyone. People with high blood pressure or other pre-existing cardiovascular conditions are not recommended to take ice baths as they can go into shock or even have a cardiac arrest. Consult your doctor if you are unsure if taking ice baths for recovery is right for you.