Ice baths, also known as cold water immersion, have gained popularity in recent years for their potential benefits on both mental and physical health.
There is no shortage of articles and research that suggests that Ice baths reduce inflammation and improve recovery by changing the way blood and other fluids flow through your body. Example; When you sit in cold water, your blood vessels constrict; when you get out, they dilate (or open back up) helping flush away metabolic waste.
With all of the latest articles and opinions, we set out to uncover the routines behind some of our Recovery Lab team and the role of the ice bath in their own recovery process.
Daniel (Recovery Lab Windsor & Hampton) said “When you can get comfortable in an uncomfortable situation (like an ice bath) you then learn to control your mind and breathing, making other stressful situations in life easier to navigate.”
For Luke (Recovery Lab Bundall), Ice baths are a huge part of his physical health routine “ I use ice baths to condition my body to tolerate more stress. Muscle recovery post training, dopamine and norepinephrine boosts & activation of brown fat stores are the other benefits I experience.”
“As someone who has suffered with mental health issues in the past, I use Cold Water Therapy daily as a part of my routine. This assists me to apply breathing techniques to aid me in stressful situations as well as to manage my injuries as a result of two decades in the ADF”. Says Matt (Recovery Lab Townsville).
Here are our top 8 tips for men on how to incorporate ice baths into their daily routine:
- Start Gradually: If you’re new to ice baths, begin by gradually introducing cold water immersion into your routine. Start with shorter durations and warmer temperatures 12-15 degrees, then gradually decrease to 8-10 degrees as you become more accustomed to the sensation.
- Mindful Breathing: Before getting into the ice bath, practice deep breathing exercises to help relax and prepare your body for the cold exposure. Slow, controlled breathing can help manage any initial discomfort.
- Gradual Immersion: Start by immersing your feet and lower legs, gradually working your way up to immerse your entire body. Take your time and allow your body to adjust to the cold temperature.
- Duration: Begin with shorter durations, around 1-3 minutes, and gradually increase the time as you become more accustomed to the cold. Aim for a total immersion time of 5-10 minutes or a minimum of 20 minutes of total exposure time a week.
- Post-Ice Bath Recovery: After the ice bath, warm up slowly by wrapping yourself in a warm towel or wearing warm clothing. This helps restore your body temperature gradually.
- Hydration and Nutrition: Stay hydrated before and after the ice bath, and consider consuming a balanced meal or snack afterward to replenish your energy stores and support recovery.
- Consult a Professional: If you have any underlying health conditions or concerns, it’s advisable to consult with a healthcare professional before incorporating ice baths into your routine.
Remember, everyone’s tolerance to cold water immersion may vary, so listen to your body and adjust accordingly. Incorporating ice baths into your routine can provide various benefits for physical and mental health, but it’s essential to approach it safely and mindfully.