If I could tell you that small change in the way you bath can enhance your performance, and take the plunge to
try an ice bath after your workouts? Well, if not, maybe you should.
There are many proven benefits to taking an ice bath after a punishing session at the gym. It is not just physical benefits either. Check out this list and see if doesn’t inspire you to give them a try.
Physical benefits of ice baths
Probably the most well know benefit of ice baths is that they are helpful in post workout recovery. Ice baths increase the tissue oxygenation, which means that more oxygen and blood is going to the areas that need it. This prevents tissue breakdown and flushes out waste products.
Ice is well-known to bring relief to sore muscles and has been used in this way to support healing for a long time. If you’ve pushed yourself to the max, then an ice bath will ease the pain.
Boosts immune system
A study showed that people who took regular cold showers or ice baths took less time off work. Therefore, promoting the idea that frequently ice baths can improve your immune system.
Leukocytes, which protect the body from diseases, are also produced during ice baths and could help prevent you from catching coughs and colds.
Vagus nerve training
Your vagus nerve is one of the big players in the central nervous system. It helps regulate your blood pressure, heart rate, digestion and speaking.
Taking ice baths means that the vagus nerve must read and respond to these extreme sensations by controlling many of the elements mentioned above. Doing this frequently helps your vagus nerve to become better prepared for more stressful situations.
Efficient heat management
Taking an ice bath before race, or playing sport, in the sun lowers core body temperature and enables you to endure these high temperatures.
This means that you will be able to perform at your peak for longer without feeling the full effects of the hot environment.
Mental benefits of ice baths
Improved focus and brain function
Taking an ice bath encourages your body to release catecholamines which are a family of hormones that include adrenalin. This wakes your brain up and gets you ready for action and improves your focus.
At the same time, it releases endorphins which helps regulate your mood. Making you calmer and less stressed. Therefore, ice baths act a bit like an antidepressant.
One of the many reasons that we sleep at night is because this is the coldest part of the day. On an evolutionary level we have grown to expect sleep when the temperature drops topreserve energy for the most vital bodily functions.
That’s why exercising in the evening followed by an ice bath can improve your sleep. It triggers your brain into thinking that it is time for bed and therefore, encourages good rest.
This one could be both a physical and mental benefit of ice baths. Although they don’t improve performance per se, all the other benefits combined, such as good rest, faster recovery and improved brain function mean that you can go out and perform your best.
Convinced yet? Yes, they’re cold but the benefits are huge. Plus, you’ll feel the improvements in your workout and love reaching those new personal bests.