Do ice baths work? Why most people can skip the cold post-workout soak, according to athletic trainers
Insider Health reports on the efficacy of ice baths following intense workouts according to experts including HSS physical therapist Jenna Baynes PT, DPT, ATC, OCS.
If you are doing resistance training, "a little bit of micro-tearing within muscle fibers is actually expected in order for you to get bigger or stronger," explained Baynes. However, you don't want to strain the muscles too much. "[An ice bath] helps prevent your muscle fibers from getting more damaged," she noted, which may enhance muscle recovery.
Some research has even found ice baths could prevent muscle growth. Some athletes swear by ice baths because they feel better afterward. Anecdotally, there's a soothing effect, and people feel rejuvenated, said Baynes.
Ice baths are generally safe but are not recommended for people with certain conditions. If you have a heart condition, you should immerse yourself into an ice bath gradually rather than jumping right in, to prevent shocking your body and heart, advised Baynes.
Moreover, there are less extreme alternatives to ice baths. Baynes does not prescribe ice baths to her patients; she prefers to use ice packs or crushed ice because they are more comfortable and tolerable for patients, as well as more accessible because they don't require as much preparation. But some people enjoy ice baths, and there's generally no reason not to use them. "If it's something you want to try, go for it," she concluded.
Read the full article at Insider.com.