The Cold Treatment
It’s standard operating procedure for athletes these days to jump into a vat of ice water immediately after leaving the practice field/track/court. The purpose of the ice bath is to reduce the inflammation in muscles that have been stressed during their workout.
By reducing the inflammation, they reduce the common Delayed Onset Muscles Soreness (DOMs) that is experienced by exercisers of all ages after a hard workout, and are able to workout hard much sooner. (Note: DOMs is that normal soreness you feel a day or two after a workout, not an injury.)
While we don’t recommend ice baths for CBFer’s, there are definite benefits for applying an ice pack to any especially sore area, which will inevitably occur with the variety of exercises in the Younger Games, regardless of your level of fitness.
A 2015 study by J.S. Petrofsky in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research showed that while both heat and cold can aid in post workout recovery (we’ll discuss why in our next blog). The research showed cold treatment is most effective for reducing soreness and pain.
So keep a bag of ice in your freezer. If you have soreness you find intolerable, apply ice. As soon as you apply the ice, whether right after the workout before you even feel any soreness or 24 hours later when it is really setting in, the cold will reduce the inflammation and soreness.
When there are exercises you know from experience are going to make you sore, like band pull downs or lunges and squats, just place the ice pack on the muscle area that tends to get sore. Place a thin cloth between your skin and the ice pack to protect your skin. If you do this for 20 minutes a few times during the 24 hours following your exercise, you’ll feel better and recover faster.
DOMs is predictable. It alway shows up in the muscles that felt like they were burning during the workout. Anticipate it. Give those muscles the cold treatment, the sooner the better.