The Benefits of Ice Baths for Runners

Sports MedicineAs athletic trends and orthopedic technology change, so must the methods recommended by sports medicine professionals. One interesting treatment for runners is the use of an ice bath.  Before taking the plunge, here’s what you should know.

Reducing Swelling

As you participate in any sport, muscles and soft tissues break down. This is a natural reaction to the exertion the muscle expends, but may sometimes result in inflammation and swelling. An ice bath curbs the swelling and prevents further breakdown of the tissues. Generally, neither your joints or muscles will feel as taxed after the swelling has gone down.

Pain Management

After a particularly hard run you may be feeling sore and run down. It has been shown that ice baths, taken the same night of an aggressive run, reduce the potential for pain over the following few days.

Flushing Toxins

Working out results in the generation of metabolic by-products in your muscles and tissues. Taking ice baths causes a physical change in the body that will speed up circulation once the ice bath is complete. Toxins are flushed out of the muscles and processed by your body like any other waste product.

What to Know

If you are using ice baths regularly as part of your sports medicine regimen, you may eventually find them to be less effective for pain management. Also, the stress your body needs to experience for building stamina and strength is alleviated. You may not find that you’re getting stronger as a result. Studies on this topic have shown mixed conclusions, but if you find this to be true, you may wish to reserve ice baths for times you’ve been extraordinarily aggressive. This method will help keep both the ice bath treatment and your training routine effective. Keep the bath brief and only immerse between 15 and 20 minutes for best results.

Sports medicine professionals can help you stay healthy and safe as you train. Ask about including ice baths and other creative methods into your training for recovery and advancement.

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