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Ice Baths

There are a lot of theories out there, but most have to do with exposure to cold temperatures constricting blood supply to your lower extremities (lower body).

An ice bath is normally taken in a seated position with the lower body completely submerged in the cold water/ice. Temperatures can range from 5-10 degrees, with time spent in the bath usually about 10 minutes. Whilst elite athletes have be known to take ice baths for many a year, it is becoming increasingly popular for your everyday athlete, weekend warrior, keen runner or avid gym goer to take an ice bath after their training session. Is there evidence and theories to support it? We try to answer this for you.In theory, this would shunt blood away from the muscles to reduce the muscle cells’ inflammatory response. This in turn, can reduce swelling and pain, and can potentially prevent fatigue, muscle soreness and injury. Whilst this may be beneficial after a sporting game or run, it is not the response we want after strength training. Interestingly, ice baths after strength training could actually result in smaller gains of muscle strength.

Overall, the research to support and negate ice baths is all over the place. Certainly, at this point in time, the evidence is not strong enough to warrant those teeth chattering ten minutes! If you do want to give them a try, make sure you only take the bath for 10 minutes or less as your body loses heat in water far faster than it does in air. Know that colder temps and more time soaking do not mean better benefits.


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