An ice bath is one the most effective ways of rapidly healing sore muscles after that big running competition. When you immerse your body in a tub full of ice, the swelling in the muscles goes down and your body is able to reduce the amount of lactic acid in your body, which is produced during intense workouts. Too much lactic acid in the body causes your muscles to function poorly. There are some important steps to follow when doing an ice bath to ensure you get maximum results and to ensure that you do not hurt yourself in the process.
- Fill a large tub with enough cold water to submerge your legs and hips (seated).
- Add enough ice to lower the temperature to about 12 – 15 degrees Celsius.
- Soak in the ice bath for a minimum of ten minutes.
- The numbness should kick in after about 3 minutes.
Once you’re comfortable in the ice bath slowly start submerging the rest of your body. (Excluding your head of course)
If you’re one of those people who tend to jump out of the ice bath before the numbness sets in, fear not, there’s a way to get around that. Once you’ve filled the tub with water jump in, and then gradually add ice until you’ve reached the desired temperature of 12 – 15 degrees, but since the water is also gradually getting warmer, you’ll have to increase the time to twenty minutes.
Tips to remember
- wear something on your feet to protect your toes
- wear a long sleeve top to protect your torso
- wear shorts or tights to protect your low body from the cold
- Each person has their own cold threshold so make sure you don’t over-do it (If you feel you cannot handle the cold get out immediately)
- Do not exceed the recommended time of ten minutes
- Do not think that colder is better. Spending too much time submerged in an ice bath can cause harm to your body.
- Do not take a warm shower immediately after an ice bath. Gradually warm your body.
- Warming your body from the inside is always a good idea when having an ice bath. So you can sip on your favourite hot beverage whilst submerging your body.
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