My running partner, Lauren, and I have had some pretty tough training runs over the past few weeks…so under the advisement of her boyfriend Zach, Lauren stepped into an ice bath for her very first time! As she told me today on our run…it was the absolute worst experience ever! I had to giggle as I know the pain all too well! Few can handle the ice bath, but those who do benefit!
(Photos of me in my own ice bath today; as well as Lauren eating pizza to make the time go by faster in hers!)
The general theory behind this cold therapy is that the exposure to cold helps to combat the microtrauma (small tears) in muscle fibers and resultant soreness caused by intense or repetitive exercise.
- After a workout, your body needs to “repair” itself to prepare for the next training session.
- It does so with the help of blood vessels that bring oxygen to your muscle tissue while removing waste products of exercise — the most common being lactic acid.
- Too much lactic acid build-up can cause your muscles to function poorly and will often lead to fatigue.
- An ice bath will immediately reduce swelling while flushing lactic acid out of your body.
- When you sit in an ice bath — or when you rub a cup of ice on the muscles you just trained — the cold causes your blood vessels to tighten.
- This helps drain the lactic acid out of your tired muscles.
- When you get out of the bath, your muscle tissue warms back up, causing a return of oxygenated blood to help your muscles recover.
So next time you are need of some relief for your sore muscles, try out your very own ice bath. Directs as follows:
- Pick up at least two or three 20lb ice bags
- Fill bath up with cold water about 50%
- Dump in ice baths
- Jump in yourself and force yourself to stay in there for 10 minutes
- Tips: Go in fast…the slower you do it, the longer it takes for your legs to go numb. Wear a sweatshirt or towel on your upper body to keep you warm / bite when you need to scream!
- Have fun!!!