Ice baths gained a lot of popularity after the internet screamed with pictures of basketball players undergoing this therapy to treat on-field injuries. Many of you must have rubbed ice over a wound to speed up the healing process. The benefits of ice bath do just the same thing.
An ice bath works like a cold therapy to your body. It exposes the body to cold temperatures. The process involves dipping your body or a part of your body in ice like temperature. Athletes very commonly use an ice bath as it helps to treat pain and speeds the healing process.
Benefits of Ice Bath – How Does Ice Bath Work on Your Body?
Cold bath benefits your body in multiple ways.
- Cold bath instantly improves your brain function. The cold temperature alerts your brain and improves your presence of mind. It releases catecholamines and produces endorphins by activating the sympathetic nervous system that is also known as a mood regulator. Taking a cold shower sends impulses to the brain through the cold receptors on the skin.
- The benefits of ice bath mainly include its ability to heal an injury. A weekly ice bath increases tissue oxygenation and helps in repairing the sore muscles. An ice bath reduces the lactic acid build up in your body and reduces swelling that causes muscle soreness.
- The blood vessels in your body constrict when you’re in cold water, and they open up and dilate when you step out of the water. The metabolic waste gets flushed out of the body in this process. An ice bath works very positively on your central nervous system and helps you to sleep better.
Methods to Take an Ice Bath
Although it is recommended for athletes, it is not restricted to them. Anyone who feels the need for it can take an ice bath.
So, do YOU need an Ice bath?
If you are incredibly sore and your muscles hurt, an ice bath might work for you. If you have trained enough and your muscles(1)ached, it is then recommended that you take an ice bath.
- Purchase around 10lb bags of ice from any supermarket.
- Fill your bathtub with cold water. In case you don’t have a bathtub, you can use a kid inflatable pool. Fill half of it with cold water as the ice makes the water level to rise.
- Add half of the ice from the ice bag. Check the temperature; it shouldn’t exceed 13 degrees C.
- Wear a swimsuit or shorts to cover your sensitive areas.
- Get into the bathtub by first putting the lower part of your body in the ice water. You should do this to ensure the cold water doesn’t shock your body. If the temperature of the water suits you, slowly submerge the other parts of the body.
- Sit in the ice bath for 10 minutes. You can also get out early if the cold water makes you uncomfortable.
- Dry yourself and relax.
[Read: Heat or Ice to Ease Neck Pain]
For More Practical Benefits of Ice Bath Follow These Instructions
- Take an ice bath after training. To make an ice bath more effective, train first. After half an hour of your training session, prepare yourself for an ice bath. The strained muscles will instantly relax when you take an ice(2)bath.
- After you have undergone a high-intensity training, you must take an ice bath; for example, sprinting, long jumps, intense work out sessions, Zumba, etc.
- If you are working out to improve your strength, then it’s advisable you don’t take an ice bath as it could interfere with the progress.
- Ice bath, although beneficial, shouldn’t be done regularly. It can affect the lungs, heart, and skin.
[Read: Heat or Ice for Back Pain]
- You shouldn’t stay more than 20 minutes inside a bathtub under any circumstances. It can have a reverse effect by damaging your muscles.
- If you are spending too much time in the water, it can become hazardous for your body.
- The ice bath is recommended only to reduce soreness. If you are working on your muscles or improving your strength, do not opt for an ice bath.
- You could end up with hypothermia if you stay in ice water that is colder than 13 degrees C.
1. Is It Advisable to Take a Bath Right After a Workout Session?
No. You must wait for at least half an hour before you take an ice bath.
2. Can I Take an Ice Bath a Few Days After Training?
An ice bath is more effective if you take it on the same day. After training, wait for half an hour and then step into your bathtub with ice.