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Exercising is important for our overall health and wellbeing, as it helps build endurance, condition the body, manage weight, and stay calm. Notwithstanding the obvious benefits of exercising regularly, adopting measures to recuperate and recover post a workout session are also important, especially when feeling tired and sore. One such measure which is widely adopted by enthusiasts and professionals alike, is taking an ice bath.
Even though many of us will flee at the thought of bathing in ice-cold water, many people swear by this recovery technique which entails immersing oneself in ice-cold water (10-20 degree celsius) for 10 to 15 minutes after a workout session. This bath is associated with reducing muscle pain, increasing blood circulation, and soreness.
In a research study published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, it was observed that participants who were instructed to put one leg into an ice bath after a strenuous run, and leave the other one out, reported that swelling was reduced in the freezing cold leg.
Blood circulation is a vital bodily function which could be supplemented by taking an ice bath post a heavy exercise session.
According to Grand Master Akshar, Spiritual Yogic Master, and Founder, Chairman and Course Director of Akshar Yoga, and President of World Yoga Organisation, “The body’s circulatory system ensures that all essential nutrients and oxygen is carried around within the body. To help this transportation process, the arteries carry blood away from the heart and veins carry blood back to the heart. The circulatory system is also responsible for carrying hormones to cells, and in charge of elimination of waste products like carbon dioxide from the body.”
Muscle soreness and pain: The cooling effect of ice can be a relief to sore and heated muscles. The increased blood flow coupled will ensure that the muscles are receiving adequate amounts of oxygen thereby helping with pain and stiffness.
Nervous system reboot: The nervous system needs time to recuperate, (recover after exercise) as it is a critical component for hand – legs – eye coordination. An ice bath will aid the quality and duration of sleep, and make you less tired.
Inflammation: The drop in body temperature helps reduce the inflammatory response, which will fight swelling and help recover faster.