If you’re like us, you probably like to either start your day or end it with a warm, relaxing shower. Emphasis on “warm”- nobody likes to shower cold. In fact, the last thing you’d probably want to do instead is jump straight into a bathtub full of frigid ice water. But as it turns out, while ice baths might not be the most pleasant feeling in the world, they could potentially be useful for a number of health-related reasons. Let’s take a look at 6 reasons why you might want to consider taking an ice bath.
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Intro – 0:00
1. Muscle Pain : 01:00
2. Your Nervous System : 02:55
3. Inflammation : 03:28
4. Heat and Humidity : 03:48
5. Vagus Nerve : 04:11
6. Mental Health : 04:52
1. Muscle Pain
For professional athletes and fitness junkies alike, it’s not uncommon to see someone blunge themselves into an icy bathtub immediately after an intense workout. For years, people have believed that a 10 to 15-minute soak in a freezing ice bath is just the thing you need to bring some sweet relief to your sore and achy muscles after physical exercise. This activity is commonly referred to as either cold water immersion or cryotherapy.
As for whether or not ice baths truly are the best choice for easing muscle pain, well… the jury’s actually out on that one. In 2017, a study was conducted for the Journal of Physiology which seemed to indicate that cold water immersion might not be as useful for sore muscles as we originally thought.
2. Your Nervous System
According to Gardner, an ice bath can also bring benefits to your central nervous system. Taking an icy dip every now and then might actually be able to help you sleep better, and as a result, lessen some of the fatigue and other symptoms you might feel as a result of poor sleep hygiene. Additionally, ice baths and the improved sleep habits they provide can also help improve your reaction time, which in turn can help to improve your performance during future workouts as well.
While this one is also slightly inconclusive, it has been theorized that lower temperatures after an intense work out can help prevent your muscles from becoming inflamed. This will help you recover faster, and in turn, be more prepared for when you decide to up the number of reps in tomorrow’s session.
4. Heat and Humidity
Weather conditions can have an effect on your workout performance. According to Gardner, one of the best ways to improve your physical performance on those hot, muggy days is to lower your body’s core temperature by a degree or two. How can you reliably lower your body’s core temperature? You guessed it; it’s ice bath time.
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