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What you must know about ice baths

Published: 4th February 2021 12:53


An ice bath which is also known as cold water immersion refers to a bathing procedure usually utilized by professional athletes to enable them to recover quickly after some intense exercises. This can also overcome muscle soreness, and even help your body to bounce back for the next training sessions.

Understandably, taking an ice bath may seem painful, especially when you’re unprepared for the first time. But you can be trained and the benefits of ice baths after exercise are great. Once you get used to ice baths, it can become a pleasant experience. This post explains what you need to know about ice baths. 

The benefits of ice baths

Ice baths are increasingly becoming popular because they can improve muscle recovery. Metabolic activity decreases and blood vessels restrict when you expose your body to the cold temperature of ice baths. As a result, this can reduce tissue breakdown and swelling. 

When your body doesn’t any longer contact the cold water, then the body tissues warm-up to increase the blood flow. This can flush out deadly metabolic waste products that your body generates during the training sessions. 

Furthermore, the lymphatic system can get activated and increases the clearance of toxins in your body. Therefore, the muscle soreness can be reduced and the healing process improves. 

No doubt, taking ice baths has further health benefits. These include higher energy levels, reduced inflammation, enhanced immune function, and increased confidence, focus, and mental strength. 

Remember that cold exposure can be a natural stressor that can give a positive effect on the body. To keep you warm, the respiration and heart rate increases, which can improve blood flow and delivery of oxygen. 

Also, norepinephrine increases in your brain, leading to a reduction of pain and inflammation to boost your mood and focus. This is also known as endorphin rush and can result in a rewarding feeling and an excellent mood. You can try Victoriaplum.com for the best ice baths. 

Weight loss and high energy level 

Taking ice baths can also improve weight loss in various ways. Firstly, ice baths tend to boost the overall metabolism for some time after taking the bath. And, the cold exposure may also transform fat into brown fat. 

It’s worth noting that white fat is the normal fat in any adult’s body. This can store energy in large oily droplets. On the other hand, brown fat has small droplets with large amounts of mitochondria, which are the natural power plants in your body. These mitochondria utilize the fatty droplets to make energy and to produce heat. 

So it means that an ice bath can assist the body to burn white fats, leading to an increase in mitochondria. In other words, there can be an increase in energy levels in your body. 

Taking ice baths at home

Taking full ice baths can sometimes be a painful experience, especially if you’re not used to them. The best way to handle them properly is to prepare your body and mind well to make the ice bathing experience a pleasant one.

So you can start with a small dose of coldness in the shower. Ideally, you can begin by switching the water to at least the coldest setting after having a normal shower and attempt to stay in for about a minute. It may not feel comfortable in the beginning, though it can get better over time.  

When it feels tolerable, you can fill the tub with the coldest water possible. You can get into the tub and stay there for at least one to two minutes, at first. Then increase this duration over time. Within a couple of weeks, you should be able to bathe in cold water for more than 10 minutes without feeling cold or shaking. 

Depending on your location, the tap water may already be between 55 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit (12-15°C). This happens to be the recommended temperature for ice baths. In such cases, you can begin with slightly warmer water.

When it comes to real ice baths, make sure to buy some ice bags from any local grocery store, make your ice in the freezer, or purchase from a petrol station. You can fill the tub with cold water and then add ice on top so that it can reach a temperature of about 54 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit (12-15°C).

You can sit in the ice bath for at least 10 minutes, but make sure to stay calm and even breathe slowly and deeply. The first natural response may be to take shallow and fast breaths. However, you need to do the opposite, so take deep inhales. This will deliver more oxygen into the body to help you relax.

When you get out of the cold bath, avoid taking a hot shower. Instead, utilize a towel to dry the body and allow it to warm slowly. Even better, you can take warm coffee or tea to get warm.  

The best time to take ice baths can differ depending on individuals. Some people prefer taking an ice bath immediately after every exercise. But many experts believe you should only take ice baths after intense training sessions. This is when you feel exhausted and the training quality starts to suffer. You can also take an ice bath just before a competition so that you can feel energized and fresh. 

Besides these, you need to wait a couple of hours after the training. Immediate ice cold water baths can be counterproductive because it decreases the body’s adaptive response to the workout. Hence, you should let your body repair exercise-induced damages naturally for a few hours before you take ice baths.

The best time can be right before you go to bed or first thing in the morning. Keep in mind that 5 to 10 minutes of an ice bath is enough to get its full benefits. Even just 2 minutes of an ice bath can produce come effects. So you can keep it short at first and then let your body adjust to the cold. When your body handles this, you can target for more time.

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