Have you ever seen professional athletes dive into a bucket of icy water after a game or training session and wondered if you should be doing the same thing?
Ice baths have been a part of the recovery methods used by athletes for years. Whilst jumping into a pool of freezing water has obvious mindset challenges, what are the benefits of doing it in regards to your own training, recovery and sporting performance?
6 Benefits of Ice Baths
1. Eases Muscle Pain
Have you ever played a game or had a really intense gym training session and your legs and arms feel like jelly afterwards?
You struggle to walk and sit down and feel like you have climbed a mountain.
Using a cold contrast method can assist with muscle soreness, it cools us down and relieves pain. This causes our blood vessels to contract, reducing blood flow to those areas and helps reduce swelling which can cause discomfort.
2. Improves Circulation
When you submit yourself to the cold water, your blood immediately rushes to your vital organs for protection, which in turn helps create a healthy blood flow throughout your whole body.
3. Speeds up Recovery
Do you need to be physically ready for the next game or next race? Do you have an important event soon after your session?
Ice baths can reduce soreness and inflammation, which can assist you in being that little bit better the following day, thus a little sharper for your next session.
4. Supports Immune System
Life these days can be crazy, trying to balance a full time work schedule, study schedule and then on top of that either train as a semi professional athlete or training block for your next big event.
Our bodies can sometimes feel as though they aren’t keeping up with us, or we may skip out on giving it the correct amount of recovery time and nutrition to allow us to continue these schedules.
Ice baths can be a great way to support our immune system. Cold water therapy can stimulate the production of our white blood cells, which we know is our protector to fight off any unwanted disease or virus.
Supporting our immune system helps us decrease the risk of getting sick and putting any unwanted pause on our training plans.
5. Decreases Stress / Improves Mood
Very similar to exercising, ice baths releases endorphins, which leave you feeling refreshed and ready to go.
A lot of athletes and people now use this method to assist with controlling their minds, and increase mental toughness.
At first your body goes in flight mode, and for some people it is really hard to maintain their body underneath cold water. By controlling our breathing and focusing on just our body, this can help us to stay under control during the recovery method, but also improve mental strength.
In competition or training, the best performers are those who can connect with their mind and control their mind especially during high stimulation situations such as a final or the last 5km of a Triathlon.
6. Menstrual Cycle
During a female’s menstrual cycle are some stages where the athlete may have a higher temperature level.
Ice baths have been a great option to help reduce the temperature which can then guide you into a cooling state.
During Menopause it is quite common for females to enter hot flushes, and a higher temperature. Ice baths or cold contrast showers before bed can help you with a better night’s sleep.
Basics Tip for Ice Baths
Depending on the time and what you have available, anywhere between 1-3 minutes is a great ratio with contrasting between room temperature and ice baths, completing the process for 2-3 rounds.
It is recommended that you don’t ever exceed 12-15 minute blocks as this can increase the risk of hypothermia and leave you with shivers post ice bath.
For athletes who are beginners, getting used to it is the hardest things. By slowly increasing more of your bodies exposure to the water, and even holding up to 45 seconds to 1 minute can help you adjust and get used to cold contrast recovery methods.
Want To Know More?
We’d suggest contacting our team at Precision Physio, so that we can help you with your individual case.
How Do I Book An Appointment?
We’re taking the health of our clients, members and staff very seriously and our preference would be for you to call to book an appointment so that we can make sure to explain our approach to keeping you safe. You can call any of these numbers to schedule a session:
- Precision Physio Concord: 02 9736 3950
- Precision Physio St Marys: 02 9623 2220
- Precision Physio Mt Druitt: 02 9188 2552
Evolving with the current environment, we are also now offering online appointments, meaning that we can support anyone who is unable to leave their home. Sessions are done via our state of the art Telehealth system and as long as you have a laptop or tablet with an inbuilt camera, or a phone with camera, we can help!
To learn more about online consultations, please call us on any of the numbers listed above.