Why Contrast Therapy is Great for Post-Exercise Recovery
If you read articles on human performance or listen to podcasts about health and wellness, you’ve undoubtedly seen that ice baths are currently popular. Everyone is embracing the idea that exposure to severe temperatures is advantageous, whether they are professional athletes, coaches, or their training partners. However, what precisely does using an ice bath do to your body? Why would you want to mix the two? And how do you begin so that you can reap the rewards without going too far?
Key Reasons Why Contrast Therapy is Ideal for This Application
Contrast Therapy can assist you in reducing the muscle discomfort you experience after your sessions. You may burn more calories as a result and it can improve your system’s lymphatic drainage and circulation. It can also improve sleep quality, reduce edema and inflammation, promote immunity, and all of these things.
Suppose you consistently utilize this therapy after a workout or physical activity session. In that case, a lack of blood flow to your muscles may prevent them from becoming tight and bloated the following day. Contrast therapy increases blood flow to your muscles during and after exercise, lowering the possibility of getting overly stiff.
Starting this treatment as soon as possible after an incident will shorten the time it takes for bruises to disappear, which might lessen any pain or discomfort brought on by internal bleeding.
Your muscle will dilate from applying hot packs, improving blood flow and reducing pain. The blood arteries that carry oxygen-rich blood throughout your body subsequently become constricted (tightened) due to the cold pack, which increases pain. Your muscles will feel less tense and sore the rest of the day once this has passed.
Contrast treatment can assist in preventing cramping-related intense aches in your muscles from recurring again. Applying the heat pack periodically after intense physical activity sessions or extended hours without rest will help you experience less pain throughout the day since it increases blood flow and reduces swelling.
Prevents Muscle Spasms
Extreme strain in your muscles might cause them to cramp or tighten without prior notice. If you frequently have these spasms during the day, contrast therapy with hot and cold packs may lower your likelihood of doing so in the future.
Removes Excess Lactic Acid
Lactic acid accumulates in your body as a result of intense exercise. Although the buildup of lactic acid is normal, it can leave you feeling worn out and hurting. By resting, consuming enough water, taking a magnesium supplement, and adhering to a few other straightforward guidelines, you can reduce the symptoms of lactic acid buildup in your body.
By reducing the amount of lactic acid in your body, contrast bath therapy can also aid your body’s ability to recuperate from the soreness and exhaustion caused by rigorous activity.
It Mimics The Positive Effects Of Exercise
The advantage of this is that when you’re in the hot tank, lots of blood circulates through your body, clearing out lactic acid and metabolic waste that accumulates in your body after exercise and just from daily life. This also improves your vascular health by boosting circulation and bringing blood flow to the surface.
These blood vessels tend to tighten and lose blood when you move into the cold. As a result, you are pumping blood up and down through your body, which causes your heart rate to fluctuate due to fluctuating levels. It mimics the positive effects of exercise. And it’s also increasing your circulation and moving things around.
So why is it effective? How does it do each of these tasks?
Well, with contrast therapy, in particular, you alternate between a hot environment and a cool one. You decide how many times you want to do it. After one to two minutes in the magnesium soak tank and four minutes in the hot bath to rewarm yourself, take a minute in the cold bath. So if you repeat that cycle four to six times, you should expect to spend 20 to 30 minutes there.
Why is this effective for people who do sports specifically?
There is a lot of information on athletes using ice baths to cool off after practices or games of netball, tennis, or football.
Why do they act that way?
All of the inflammation that results from the current work is avoided by post-exercise. As an illustration, an athlete who needs to perform, particularly in back-to-back competitions, or who must back up their training on a regular schedule for performance goals needs to be in top form. They aren’t explicitly searching for muscular growth at that time; instead, they want to perform at their peak and need everything to be in a good functioning condition the next day to back it up.
How Often Should You Do Contrast Therapy?
In terms of how often per week are benefits found, studies discussing contrast therapy, usually using a sauna, suggest a decrease in cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality by 50%, so that means your risk of death by all things can be halved by doing hot/cold therapy three to four times a week.
Contrast treatment can be used frequently to treat minor wounds and hasten workout recovery if your doctor has given the go-ahead. If you want to recover more quickly from a particularly demanding workout or race, or if you have another workout scheduled soon and want to give your best effort, you could consider contrast therapy.
Under the direction of a licensed therapist, you can employ contrast hydrotherapy. Alternatively, you can attempt it at home by submerging your body after an exercise, or an injured body part in warm water for one to three minutes, switching to cold water for one minute and repeating the process multiple times.
There are certain risks for those who have specific conditions, so before attempting any intervention on your own, be sure to consult your doctor or your personal trainer for better advice.