How Athletes Use Cold Therapy to Enhance Recovery

Posted March 4, 2022 in Recovery No Comments »
Cristiano Ronaldo Uses Cold Therapy to Enhance Recovery

Athletes need to go through different things to stay fit and recover from their injuries. Unfortunately, they get a very small window through the matches that make it harder for them to recover from their injuries. Among all the different things, cold therapy is beneficial to recover from injuries. Many people are using this technology to reduce pain and stay fit. If you are here, you want to find out how to use cold therapy to enhance recovery.

Here are some of the most useful benefits of cold therapy and some advice for adding it to your recovery strategy.

What Is Cold Therapy? 

Most athletes go through intense exercises that cause microtrauma tearing all the muscle fibers. This microscopic muscle damage is the actual goal of the exercises. It helps to repair, strengthen, and stimulate muscle cell activity. However, it is also linked with DOMS and delayed onset muscle pain. 

With the help of Ice baths, you can get plenty of benefits. Here are some of the common ones given below. 

  • Decrease metabolic activity and slow down all physiological processes.
  • Flush out the waste products by constricting blood vessels like lactic acid from the affected tissues. 
  • Reduces tissue breakdown and swelling. 

After a cold session, rewarming helps to speed up the circulation process with increased blood flow. In return, it will improve the healing process. There are no protocols available currently regarding the temperature and ideal time for cold immersion routines. Most athletes or trainers who use cold therapy to enhance recovery recommend having a temperature between 54 to 59 degrees. 

The time limit should be between 5 to 10 minutes. Some people also extend the time to 20 minutes. While this is the theory behind cold water recovery, there are still a lot of things that you need to know about this theory. In addition, there are some pros and cons that everyone should know before practicing cold therapy. 

Pros & Cons Of Cold Therapy

Plenty of research has taken place to find out the pros and cons of cold therapy. Here are some of the pros and cons that you need to know about the cold theory. Icing the muscles just after the exercise helps to reduce inflammation, increase muscle fiber growth, and facilitate muscle regeneration and recovery. One of the cons of this therapy is for people who want to grow their muscle strength and size – cryotherapy will only help you gain mass if you use it with intense, dedicated resistance training. 

Here are some benefits of cold therapy for athletes that you need to take a look at to find out more. The benefits are very limited for athletes compared to normal people. 

  • Coldwater helps to relieve and suppress pain for a limited time. They get a faster recovery experience that helps them to stay fit. 
  • Active recovery is still known to be the gold standard and known to be the best way of recovery after a hard exercise. 
  • Alternately, the hot water and cold water during water baths can help the athletes feel a lot better with the pain. 
  • Passive recovery is not a complete way to recover from all the different injuries. 
  • Taking hot baths after the hard exercises might hinder your exercise recovery. 
  • Ice baths are not necessary, you can just take a bath using the cold water. It will be as effective as cold water. 

How To Do Cold Water Therapy 

If you are trying to get cold water therapy, there are many different steps available that you will need to follow. Here are some of the most common ones given below that will help you to know the details. Make sure to follow the steps very carefully to find out the details of how to do the cold water therapy. 

Before we start telling you about the process, make sure that you are not overdoing it. If you overdo it, the results might not be what you are expecting. The best routine is between 11 to 15 minutes with a temperature of 52 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. It is enough time to get the benefit without the risks. 

You can take the help of a timer to make sure the routine is maintained correctly. 

Final Thoughts

Cold therapy is known to be one of the best treatments for athletes that help them to stay fit and healthy. It helps to increase the time of recovery for intense exercise sessions. However, you need to know the steps and perform them very carefully to get relief from the pain. Using cold therapy to enhance recovery is one of the best and cheapest strategies, as long as you have access to really cold water year-round. If this article has helped you to better understand cold therapy or cryotherapy, make sure to share the link with others. 

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