If you have never tried an ice bath as a way of recovering, then you might not recognize just how brutal it can be. For runners or high performing athletes ice baths are a reality as they try to recover from a huge race or big sporting event. There is a lot of contradictory evidence out there on the necessity or even safety of these baths. Though you might think that the torture isn’t worth it though, there can be some helpful benefits. You should assess your own individual circumstances and recognize that some of the evidence can give you the answer that is right for you.
Put simply the idea of an ice bath being helpful or even scientifically proven as a recovery method is inconclusive. There is a lot of evidence out there that says taking an ice bath or performing this type of cold submersion is a great way to let the muscles recover. This may not necessarily be true in each and every circumstance though and much of the research points to using the ice bath only after a marathon, race, or rather extensive sporting event of magnitude. This is to say therefore that turning to ice baths only makes sense after you have put forth the most effort in your training.
Studies Have Found Evidence to Support Both Cases So Find What Works Best For You
There is a lot of inconclusive evidence but it often points to the fact that ice baths won’t necessarily hurt you. The disclaimer to that is that you don’t want to perform this type of extremely cold bath every single time you workout. This can cause some skin damage or other issues and shouldn’t therefore be a main staple in your workout or lifestyle every time you exert any effort. If you hold ice baths only for extreme workouts and therefore use it as an extreme recovery method, then that can work much more to your advantage.
In the end the evidence can be very unclear, though there are studies done all the time. You may wish to play around with this if you are a high performing athlete that finds some advantages out of this type of extremely cold bath. If it does help you to feel looser, flexible, and feels as though your muscles recover better then use it from time to time. If however the torture simply isn’t worth it, then try to find something else to help your body return to normal. When the evidence is this uncertain, you often need to find what works best for you.