Ice baths providing cold exposure following hard workouts are a tested and utilised recovery method for athletes around the world.
Cryotherapy (“cold therapy”) constricts blood vessels, offering recovery benefits such as reduced inflammation and flushing out muscles due to the constriction of blood cells. Decreasing metabolic activity and compressing the muscles through hydrostatic pressure assists this process. An ice bath is the simplest solution to delivering cold therapy for a range of applications.
By slowing down cell processes and using water to apply light compression, ice baths help circulate blood throughout the body. They also move waste products, like lactic acid, outside of the muscle.
After exposure to the cold source, the underlying tissues warm up causing a return of faster blood flow. This helps to return the byproducts of cellular breakdown to the lymph system for efficient recycling by the body.
After several years of research and development with vital input from clubs and trainers, we’ve developed two soaker style bath designs. The AQVA range of ice baths are perfectly suited to health and recovery applications for sports clubs, athletic clubs and individuals.
Ice bath FAQ
Though you could use individual ice packs, cold-water immersion using ice baths generally produces a greater and longer lasting change in deep tissues and is more a more efficient means of cooling large groups of muscles simultaneously.
Here’s our quick guide to the most commonly asked ice bath questions:
When to take an ice bath:
Ideally, after every training session. Regardless of the intensity of the workout or the distance covered, a repetitive running motion causes a build-up of toxic lactic acids. Along with repairing muscle damage, ice baths flush away these workout waste products to eliminate soreness and help to prepare you for your next session.
How long should you recover in an ice bath:
A study published in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport found that a 15 minute ice bath can increase an athlete’s endurance by up to three to four minutes longer than any other duration spent in the tub.
Common ice bath mistakes:
The most common mistake of any ice bath is not breathing properly. After lowering themselves into the bath an athlete can find themselves panicking and taking quick, short breaths. This reduces the circulation of air moving around the body, restricting the benefits of the ice bath.
Focusing on taking deep, controlled breaths and maintaining solid inhales and exhales will assist athletes to get the most out of their recovery.