Benefits of Ice Baths
Sitting in a tub of ice cold water... seems....miserable right? Well think again. Ice baths can be an extremely valuable recovery tool.
So what is an Ice bath? Ice Baths, also called Cold Water Immersion (CWI) is the practice of submerging yourself in cold water (50-59 degrees) for up to 15 minutes at a time. CWI Is typically done after intense exercise and is used to reduce muscle soreness.
What are the benefits of CWI? Numerous studies have looked at CWI from different view points and found a variety of different benefits.
1) Eases sore and aching muscles
2) Helps Nervous system function
3) Improves explosiveness and reaction time in future workouts.
4) Aids in Sleep
5) Limits Inflammatory response
6) Improves your response to stressful situations due to the affects on the vagus nerve
7) Build Physical Resilience
8) Reduce Chronic Pain
1) Elevate Mood
2) Build Discipline
3) Increase Mental Resilience
4) Decrease Stress
5) Energy Boosts
6) Reduce Anxiety and depression symptoms
1) Immune system support
2) Increase Blood Flow
3) Boost Metabolism
As with everything there are some things to be aware of before beginning CWI and as always consult your doctor before taking the plunge. Other things to be aware of include: begin with short periods of time and progress to longer plunges, begin with water temps slightly above 60 degrees and slowly drop the temp each time you take an ice bath, slowly warm yourself up after exiting the ice bath, and remember to not stay in an ice bath for excessive amounts of time.
The goal would be to stay in the ice bath from up to 10 minutes with temps between 50-59 degrees. However, frequent short duration ice baths have great value as well. Aim to take the plunge for 2-5 minutes daily with the option to take longer ice baths the day of very intense workouts.
Who should not take an ice bath? Those that have a preexisting cardiovascular disease or high blood pressure, those that have a decrease in blood flow, and those with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.