KL Rahul and Suryakumar Yadav’s half-centuries helped India beat South Africa in Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday. After the game, Rahul was asked about the pitch and the difficulties the batters faced out in the middle. He said it was difficult work and his innings would be followed by a “lengthy ice bath." The India opener said ice baths and wickets are not something they enjoy, but they now have to do it on a regular basis. Why did Rahul compare a difficult pitch to an ice bath? What exactly is an ice bath, and why is it important? Here’s all you need to know about ice baths.
What is an ice bath?
After physical exertion, it’s typical to see athletes, fitness buffs plunge into ice baths. The technique of taking a 10-to-15-minute dip in extremely cold water (50-59°F) after a strenuous workout or competition, also known as cold water immersion (CWI) or cryotherapy, is thought to help alleviate muscle stiffness and soreness.
Benefits of an ice bath:
- Eases sore muscles: Ice baths feel excellent after a challenging workout. After a long run or a tough game, your blood vessels contract in the cold water, slowing blood flow and easing some of the swelling and stiffness you experience in your muscles.
- Reduces your core body temperature: An icy dip makes sense as a quick way to chill off if you’ve had an intense workout. That cold water quickly lowers your core temperature when your body is heated up from exercise. Be cautious, though, as prolonged immersion in ice can dangerously drop your body’s core temperature.
- It may help you focus: If you find that the jolt of cold helps focus your mind, you could simply like having an occasional ice bath. It is also claimed that some individuals find it to be a highly beneficial form of mental meditation.
- Decreases inflammation: Your blood vessels constrict when you swim in cold water, which can reduce inflammation-related swelling. According to research, taking an ice bath can provide significant relief for certain people who experience oedema and irritation.
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Who should avoid ice baths?
Some people are not advised to take ice baths. There are several medical situations where you should first consult your doctor because ice baths might have unfavourable and even harmful effects. Heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, peripheral neuropathy, poor circulation, venous stasis, and cold agglutinin disease are a few of these conditions.
Tips for taking an ice bath:
There are a few things you should be aware of before immersing your body in ice.
- The temperature of an ice bath
- The ideal ice bath temperature is between 10-15° Celsius, or 50-59° Fahrenheit.
- The duration of an ice bath
- An ice bath should only be used for a short period of time. You should thus set a time limit of no more than 10 to 15 minutes.
- Body exposure: For the best result of blood vessel constriction, it is typically advised to submerge your full body in the ice bath. To begin, though, you might wish to first expose your lower legs and feet. You can move closer to your chest as you become more at ease.
- At-home use: Use a thermometer to help you balance the ice to water mixture and get the ideal temperature if you choose to take an ice bath at home.
- Timing of bath: After training or competition, the sooner you take an ice bath, the better the results should be. If you wait an hour after working out, some of the inflammatory and healing processes have already started or ended.