How many of us are watching our Facebook feeds with trepidation as we wait for the dreaded ice bucket challenge nomination?!
But how many of us know how effective ice baths and cold treatments can be for our health and wellbeing?
Reviving and repairing tired, aching muscles after exercise is an incredibly important part of any athlete’s training regime and spending a short time immersed in an ice bath after exercise helps muscles and tissue recover faster.
The ice constricts the blood vessels which in turn decreases metabolism and reduces any inflammation and pain and flushes lactic acid and waste products from the affected tissues. Blood flow increases as the body then warms up, speeding up circulation and improving the healing process by returning waste products to the lymphatic system.
Using an ice cave or plunge pool in a spa after a sauna bathing session is an increasingly popular way of cooling down as the wellbeing benefits of alternating hot and cold treatments become more widespread.
Even just having a cold shower has a major impact on your health and wellbeing. The increase in metabolism, caused by the body trying to warm itself, up can activate the immune system which can reduce our susceptibility to colds and flu. Cold water can also stimulate noradrenaline in our brains which can help alleviate depression. Another benefit is that the cold water can tighten pores thereby reducing blockages in the skin that can lead to spots. Constriction of the muscles in the cold helps the lymphatic system work more effectively, and the increased rush of blood through the body can invigorate and energise you.
So when that nomination pings into your news feed, remember, the cold and ice will actually make you feel good, as you do good by donating to a worthy cause!