If you have ever played sports as an adult – and if either had the opportunity to do so professionally or semi-professionally – the odds are pretty good that you’ve come across at least a handful of coaches that encouraged you to ice down all of your overworked muscles ASAP to eliminate pain and speed of your recovery. Many people reach for painkillers to solve the problem, and although this might be the right choice for a serious injury – before you grab that co-codamol try old fashioned ice therapy.
Even though there are a number of people both in and out of the sports world that always questioned whether or not ice was as beneficial as many people made it out to be, science has now conclusively proven that a cold dip in ice water – or direct exposure to an ice pack on a targeted muscle group – can significantly streamline your body’s ability to recover from exertion and also stop pain that in its tracks before it even starts to manifest.
Researchers showed just how impactful ice water can be when it comes to stopping pain
A brand new report published in The Cochran Library medical journal goes into significant detail showing just how beneficial cold water of immersion can be to help not only reduce overall muscle soreness but to also stop pain and freeze it in its tracks before it has a chance to negatively impact your overall health and well-being.
Researchers pored through 15 different studies all over the world that encompassed more than 1200 different subjects, each of which were encouraged to go through a variety of Cold Water Immersion protocols immediately after exercising.
Some of these individuals used ice water exposure for only about 15 minutes or so whereas others were encouraged to ice up for upwards of an hour. But the exciting thing is that ALL test subjects that were exposed to cold water or ice were able to noticeably improve their bodies ability to recover but also their bodies ability to reject pain.
Cold water beats warm water every time – but a combo works best
If you only have the opportunity to do one or the other, you’ll want to make sure that you expose yourself to cold water or targeted ice packs on your exercised muscles.
But if you have the opportunity (and the time) to jump from one to the next you’ll want to think about first warming your targeted muscle groups up to relax them, to improve blood flow and circulation, and to release any tension before applying a cold pack or taking a quick dip in cold water to enjoy all of the benefits it has to offer.
This combination has proven to provide tremendous results, and is certainly the way to go if you have the opportunity to do so.