Thursday, August 5, 2010

in praise of ice baths

Yes, I said ice baths. Taking a cold bath…and adding ice to it.


Have I gone insane? Well, maybe a little…but let me explain.

With all the microscopic damage that running does to your leg muscles, I really have been trying to pay attention to ways to help me recover.

It’s one reason I love my foam roller so much.

And I’m so grateful that my favorite thing about exercise is stretching afterwards.

But sometimes you need a bit more…enter the ice.

Everything I have read says that for hard exercise that really beats up your legs, ice baths are the way to go. I even talked to a good friend of mine who is a Physical Therapist and she shouted their praises too.

Here’s why:

1. You are targeting your glutes, legs and feet all at once…all areas that are hit the hardest with a good run.

2. The cold helps slow blood flow…which reduces inflammation and hastens recovery.

3. Once your tissue starts to warm up again, the blood starts pumping and flushes the toxins that have built up.

icebath02 Now…I won’t say it’s necessarily fun. Yep, that’s my leg covered in goose bumps!

I’ve heard stories of people putting on winter hats and neoprene booties and jackets…it’s still summer, so I’ve been fine with taking the bath without my sky gear on.

I fill the bathtub up (to where the water just covers my legs) with the coldest water that comes out of my tap. And then I add ice and get in.

I will admit that I haven’t added more than a half bag of ice at a time. It’s been fine…but I’ve read that the colder the better. We’ll see if I get that brave.

I set my timer for 15 minutes and then try to distract myself on my phone or with a book. Then I’m done. I take a warm shower to take the chill off afterwards.

I have to say that the few times I’ve done it, I’ve woken up sore from the long run…but really able to move and not debilitated like I would expect to be after pounding myself like that.

So…I’m a fan, how about you?

Want to read more about ice baths? Check here and here.


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