Athletes Should Think Twice Before Taking an Ice Bath

Ice bath
Photo by Jared Rice on Unsplash

Even if you’re not a professional athlete, you’ve surely heard of the concept of taking an ice bath after a major workout (or at least seen it in movies). Indeed, ice baths, also called cold-water immersion, is pretty popular in sports therapy. It is basically meant to help the body recover faster after intense physical activity.

The content of the method is pretty self-explanatory: it consists of the athlete sitting or standing in a bath of ice water. The common temperature of the water is somewhere between 50-59 degrees Fahrenheit (which is about 10-15 degrees Celsius), and the length and frequency of baths varies from one athlete to another. While some dip in freezing water for two minutes at a time, other might choose to spend 10 or 15 minutes in an ice bath.

The thing is, alongside being popular, this method has also gained itself a rather controversial reputation. The reason is, it can be pretty risky. Among the potential risks of soaking in ice water are slow muscle growth and hypothermia, which might lead to a shock resulting in as far as a sudden death.

All things considered, it seems that the risks involved in cold-water immersion might outweigh the benefits. Anyway, it’s important to stay educated and only adopt habits into our workout routines if we know for sure that they’re safe.