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How to Take Ice Baths

Simple Guidelines for Post Race Ice Baths

How and Why Ice Baths Work

Ice baths are great for recovery from microtrauma, small tears to the soft tissues that occur from training and overexertion.  The ice bath causes constriction of blood vessels.  As the body warms up after the ice bath, circulation increases again and flushes out waste products and jumpstarts the healing and repair process.

How to Take Ice Baths? Do the following:

  • Most sports medicine facilities and athletic training rooms keep ice baths between 54-60 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Start by adding two (20 pound) bags of ice to a bath with cool running water.  Once the water level is high enough to cover your legs and lower back, get in.  You can add a third bag if necessary.
  • Wear a hat to keep head warm.
  • Keep time to 10 minutes.
  • I recommend keeping a cooler filled with adult beverages close to the tub.  It can make the pain much more tolerable.
  • Avoid taking a hot shower afterward, lukewarm is ok.  If needed, layer up clothes to warm your body.

Read Athlete’s Tip – Alternate Heat and Ice For a Speedier Recovery.

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