Using contrast therapy increases muscle strength and decreases the soreness one feels after a hard workout. It improves your performance and recovery as it helps to increase blood flow without increasing inflammation. The therapy should be part of your weekly routine to improve your running and decrease the chance of injuries.
It is a simple and natural alternative that helps you eliminate a runner’s knee and overcome pain, discomfort, and inflammation.
Read on to learn more about contrast therapy for runners.
What Is Contrast Therapy?
This therapy involves alternating hot and cold temperatures. By alternating between hot and cold water, you stimulate blood flow in the affected area, reducing inflammation. Contrast therapy also helps your body get rid of toxins and waste products. The increased circulation also reduces inflammation in your joints, muscles, and other soft tissues.
How To Perform Contrast Therapy For Runners?
Contrast therapy has been used for decades, but has recently become more popular among athletes and fitness enthusiasts. It is an effective tool for athletes who want to heal fast and perform better.
There are different methods of contrast therapy, but they all rely on the same basic principle – hot-cold treatment. The difference is the time interval.
- With the common contrast therapy, you immerse your whole body or the injured part in hot water for 3 to 4 minutes and then in cold water for 1 minute. You should alternate this for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Another basic alternative is getting immersed in hot water for 1 minute and cold water for 1 minute. You should alternate this for about 15 minutes.
- The third method popularly associated with former NBA basketball player Kobe Bryant involves getting immersed in Coldwater for 4 minutes and in hot water for 3 minutes. You again get In cold water for 3 minutes, into hot water for 2 minutes, and cold water for 2 minutes. You finish by getting into hot water for 1 min and cold water for 1 min.
If you are a beginner, you should start with hot water and then cold water.
The routine can be done at home or in a spa setting, as long as you have access to two different temperature baths (hot/cold).
The Benefits of Contrast Therapy
The therapy is an effective way to increase your body’s ability to recover and heal. It’s an excellent way to recover from strenuous exercises like running.
The benefits of contrast therapy for runners include the following:
Improved recovery time
Contrast therapy helps your body recover fast after exercise by stimulating blood flow through your veins and arteries. It also helps speed up the removal of metabolic waste products and increases the delivery of oxygen-rich blood to your muscles.
Enhanced athletic performance
The increased blood flow may improve your ability to perform at peak levels during races or other competitive events.
Contrast therapy reduces swelling by increasing blood flow throughout your body, including your joints. This help prevents injuries such as the runner’s knee, also known as patellofemoral pain syndrome.
Increased circulation also improves flexibility by increasing the range of motion in your joints and surrounding muscles.
Speed-up recovery time
Athletes who use contrast therapy report faster recovery times between workouts by reducing muscle soreness and increasing blood flow. The therapy enables you to train longer without risking injury or overtraining.
Is Contrast Therapy Safe?
Contrast therapy is safe when performed under the supervision of a medical professional. However, you should always discuss any concerns about this treatment with your doctor before undergoing it.
Contrast therapy is often included in physical therapy programs for athletes recovering from injuries or improving their performance. It is also part of an overall treatment plan for people with chronic conditions like arthritis or fibromyalgia.
Contrast therapy is not recommended if you have low blood pressure (hypotension), if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding or if you have heart disease or diabetes.
The Ideal Time For Contrast Therapy
A contrast therapy session is a great way to boost your recovery, and it’s also been shown to help with pain and swelling. To benefit from this treatment, it’s best done after you’ve worked out.
After a workout, your heart rate is elevated, and your blood vessels are dilated. Your muscles are still warm from exercise, allowing blood to flow more easily. The increased blood flow into your muscles promotes healing and helps flush out waste materials accumulated during strenuous exercise.
Contrast therapy can also be used before exercise to help warm up your muscles and increase your body temperature, making them more flexible and ready for training.
How Long Should You Do Contrast Therapy For?
The length of time you do contrast therapy depends on your personal needs and your doctor’s recommendation.
You can perform contrast therapy by alternating between hot and cold temperatures for 10 minutes. You can repeat this process 3 to 5 times per day or alternate between hot and cold temperatures for 10 minutes every day for one week or longer, depending on your doctor’s recommendation.
How Runners Can Get the Best Out of Contrast? Therapy
Contrast therapy is a great way to get the most out of your running regimen.
Here’s how runners can get the best out of contrast therapy:
- Do it regularly. The more you do it, the better your results will be!
Warm up before you begin and cool down afterwards. it helps prevent injury and keep your body healthy for future runs.
- Don’t overdo it. If you start feeling uncomfortable, stop it and rest until you feel better before continuing.
If you want to run outside in the heat, don’t start with an intense session; instead, build up slowly over time so that your body gets used to the change in temperature.
Reasons Why Every Runner Should Try Out Contrast Therapy
The therapy has been shown to reduce inflammation in muscles and joints after intense exercise and decrease swelling. It also helps flush out lactic acid from your muscles faster than typical recovery methods like stretching or massage alone, which means less muscle soreness.
So, if you’re looking for an easy way to improve your recovery after a long run or other workout sessions without using expensive equipment or waiting for appointments at the gym, contrast therapy is what you need.