Many years ago and even today, sights of high school, college and professional athletes soaking in huge tubs of ice water have always garnered strange looks as if to say “why?”
Well, the “old school” training staffs of yesteryear and “high-tech” staffs of today would both agree on the healing and recuperative benefits of ice.
When you suffer from an injury whether it be severe or minor, most of these injuries are immediately treated with ice to reduce swelling and to immediately start the healing process. Athletes of all eras and disciplines also use ice or ice-water baths as both a preventative and recuperative tool to speed the recovery process.
Recovery is a key term and name of the game when it comes to exercise and athletic performance, progression and longevity. When you recover faster and more completely, your body is able to stay on course for consistent improvement over time without having to keep making up for gaps in training and recovery.
When I am sore from a really tough run, bicycling excursion or weight training session, I always stop by a convenience store on my way home, grab a bag of ice, dump it in the tub, fill it with cold water and soak for 10-15 minutes. It makes a huge difference and the next day, I may still be a tad sore but not like I would had I not soaked with ice.
For those of you who don’t have tubs, you can always just take a cool shower after a training session which is also great for recovery. I always take cool showers after workouts when I don’t have time to ice. Either way you go, be sure to remember to keep things cool and you will be surprised at how you will start to notice the difference.
Hot showers after training may feel good but that warmth does not speed the healing or recovery process.
Is there anything wrong with a hot shower now and then? No…but if you are training hard and are in need of better recovery from that hard work, keep things cool!
This technique is a bit uncomfortable the first few minutes but you’ll get used to it! Besides, a few minutes of “healing discomfort” is much better than a few days of soreness that could have been much less severe by icing down or taking a cool shower.