Monday, February 20, 2017

Ice Baths for Recovery

Sometimes you learn things in life that you feel would have made things better, if you had know them when you were younger.  Ice Baths or Contrast Baths are one thing I wish I had known while I was playing tennis tournaments.  Many times I would play 2 matches a day and could not walk after the first match.  I got older and one match a day hurt really bad.  I really do believe if I had done Ice Baths after those matches, I would have felt better and recovered better for the next match.  I know of one tournament specifically, I could have one if I had been able to recover even a little after.

Everyone is going to cry and complain about how cold the water is or how bad it stings.  That is because they really have not tried it.  Tough Mudders and the Tough Guy courses have lots of cold water.  Some Spartans send you through the cold too.  To not hate these races, you have to get used to cold water.  At some point, you need to look forward to it.

I only recommend doing a cold bath if it is soon after a workout and not after 7 pm, unless you have no choice due to a long day.  You can research the science yourself but it works.  All you need is about 10 minutes too.  Warm up your bath room with heat.  Run a cold water only bath.  Once it is half full, turn off the water.  Turn on your shower to hot.  Just a little hotter then normal.  Then, slowly put your self in the cold tub while breathing deep.  You will get chills but only when you breath uncontrolled or move around a lot in the water.  Just sit there still.  There is no reason to move around.  If needed, you can add ice to the water.  You should take the easy way and add the ice after you are in the tub.

Stay in for 1 to 2 minutes.  Then, get out carefully and into the shower for 2 x the number of minutes you were in the cold tub.  Then, get back in the cold tub for 1 to 2 minutes.  Then, back in the shower for a full normal hot shower.  2 rounds of this is good.  Three is great.  After that I don't think you benefit much.

You can also try a 10 minute cold bath and then, hot shower.  I did not find this as effective as the contrast bath / showers.

I also recommend watching a show on your phone or ipad while in the bath.  It will help you forget you are in 50 degree water.

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