Post-workout ice baths may not sound like the most inviting activity in the world, but their benefits can be significant. A warning first: people who have a heart condition or major health concerns should consult a doctor before taking up submerging themselves in ice.
However, for many, the practice can be very advantageous for both body and mind, as it relaxes the muscles and brings clarity and alertness. It can even battle fatigue and pain. If you haven’t considered the practice before, now is the time to learn how ice baths can add to your overall well-being.
What Is an Ice Bath?
Submerging the body in freezing water is not uncommon in many countries, and more and more people are looking into the good it can do for them.
Many athletes are strong advocates for the hot-and-cold treatment, as it has been linked to heart health and increased stamina. Not only can it refresh your body and get your blood flowing, but it can also help you get going in the morning, post-workout. Not everyone is a morning person, so the shock of ice-cold water can kick-start your system, getting you ready to take on the day.
The Benefits of Cold Plunging after a Workout
For one thing, the ice-cold water helps to relax your body after it has been put through a taxing workout. Challenging exercise is excellent for the body, but it can leave you aching and sore. A dip in an icy pool or tub can help alleviate some of that soreness and refresh your entire body, helping to counter feelings of fatigue and even mild pain. Why suffer through more discomfort when relief is at your fingertips?
Draining Your Lymphatic System and Soothing Inflamed Muscles
Exercise helps your lymphatic system take any unwanted elements out of your body, but did you know that cold plunging can boost your lymphatic system’s performance and help it drain any negative waste? It can, and that is no insignificant benefit. Ice-cold water can also help soothe inflamed muscles after a high-intensity workout and aid in your future performance. Plus, it can help with a speedy recovery after putting a strain on your body.
Improved Circulation and a Strengthened Immune System
Good circulation is incredibly important, especially long term. Your overall health down the road is greatly impacted by your circulation, and cold plunging can help your body improve blood circulation. Exposure to cold also increases the number of white blood cells in your system, which strengthens your ability to fight off illnesses. Whether you are a professional athlete, a bodybuilder, or simply someone who enjoys physical exertion, you want to be able to make a quick recovery from anything attacking your body’s immune system. Fortunately, a regular cold plunge can help you fortify your entire system.
Sharpening Your Metabolism
Your metabolism is incredibly important, and submerging yourself in ice-cold water can actually increase your metabolism. It can even help you burn unwanted fat; when your body finds itself needing to generate heat, it burns fat. That’s not to say that you are going to lose a significant amount of weight, but consistent cold plunging certainly can help your metabolism work to your advantage in a natural, healthy way. Your fitness is an important thing—and sharpening your metabolism is a beneficial asset, both now and in the long run.
Increasing Your Happiness and Fighting Depression
This may sound counter-intuitive, but you can enjoy increased happiness when you make plunging into icy water a habit. While the rest of your body might be protesting the sudden cold, your brain sends out the chemicals that bring a rush of satisfaction and happiness. Bathing in freezing water—whether a pool, lake, or tub—has been known to fight depression in the same way that antidepressant medication does, and the habit can have lasting, positive effects on your daily life.
Taking care of your body can bring a wealth of advantages, including increased happiness and enjoyment. Not only are you strengthening your body with a workout and then following it up with a healthful cold plunge, but you can also feel great while doing it.
While taking a cold plunge regularly doesn’t have to be a part of everyone’s fitness routine, it does offer many advantages—especially for those who can endure hard workouts. Many of us need a kick in the morning to get going, so adding cold plunging to your post-workout regimen can make a huge difference in your weekly or even daily routine. Don’t overlook this method of helping your body and mind stay in the best condition possible.