Google+ Running in Cork, Ireland: New study shows ice baths after exercise have no beneficial impact...

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

New study shows ice baths after exercise have no beneficial impact...

In a recent study at the University of Portsmouth, scientists have found that elite athletes were wasting their time by plunging into icy water after intense exercise. For the study, the scientists tested 40 male athletes after 90 minutes of intermittent shuttle running. No differences were found between those who used cold water therapy and other cool-down methods in terms of athletes' perception of pain or in their biochemical markers of muscle cell damage. It had been thought that icy cold water helped reduce inflammation, swelling, muscle spasms and therefore pain, meaning an athlete could perform again at high level more quickly.

Dr Jo Corbett, the lead author of the report said......"Ice baths are frequently used by sportsmen and women to help them recover after exercise but our results show they don't work. They also pose a number of potentially serious health risks. If people using ice baths are receiving no real benefit then they should probably be advised to stop using them. The practice has become increasingly popular in recent years thanks largely to high-profile sportsmen and women doing it, but how it helps has never been entirely clear and the reasons given are largely speculative. The findings of our study do not support it as the most effective way of speeding up recovery. It might be that previous studies have used as a control group athletes who do nothing to warm down versus those who are immersed in cold water. We found athletes who cooled down using light exercise recovered at the same rate as those in cold water."

The research team said that further studies needed to be done to reconcile conflicting findings from a number of studies and to establish if cold water immersion was ever effective given the potential dangers associated with it.

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