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  • Writer's pictureMan Time

Ice Bath? No Thanks.

Updated: Feb 26, 2018

Recovery is an important part of every athlete’s activities. This is where strength is built, and also where aches and pains can be minimised, allowing for a quicker return to activity.

The foremost recovery activity is post exercise stretching. No surprises there. Cool down jogs, swims, walks etc also form part of the process. However the next level is the use of water. Ice baths have long been the go to in post exercise recovery hydrotherapy. Many athletes go through this process, submitting themselves to the discomfort and awkwardness of getting past the balls into the bath whilst holding your breath.

What if we told you that often a hot spa is just as good? What? No pain-no gain right? Wrong! Ice or cold showers or baths are still a go to in case of injury, such as a corky or muscle tear, hot baths should be avoided in those cases. Otherwise, a hot spa is just as good, and in some cases better than an ice bath for athletes. Definitely more enjoyable.

A Hot Spa Can:

-Increase the amount of heat shock proteins, which are reported to be protective and regenerative. They reduce free radicals, repair structurally abnormal protein molecules, and shut down protein degradation, preserving your amino acids, which help with the repair of muscle in the strengthening process.

-Reduce lactic acid post workout, and improved recovery times.

-Help with performance for hotter climates. Repeated hot spas have the effect of lowering the body's resting temperature, a lower body temperature during exercise, sweat rate increases, and blood plasma production rises.

-One study looked at effectiveness for spa like conditions prior to workout and found improved performance and reduced injury risk.

-A meta-analysis indicated the cold water therapy and hot-cold immersion therapy demonstrated no significant advantage over hot water therapy, although all were better than passive recovery or rest after exercise.

When to avoid a hot spa:

  1. If you are feeling nauseous or light headed

  2. If you have received an injury e.g. corky, muscle tear

  3. If you haven't gone through a cool down routine

  4. If you have heart problems

So leave the pain for the workout, and enjoy a hot spa at Man Time Grooming and Barbershop before or after your workout.

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