Typically, after a sports match, especially with professional sportsmen, you’d tend to rest in a cold bath, to rest the muscles. However, scientists at the University of Portsmouth have shown in recent studies that ice baths can do ‘more harm than good’.
The theory that cold water can help with the muscles after long periods of sports has been used since the Ancient Greeks, and Romans. Therefore it seems like a long time for nobody to notice the effectiveness being different.
Yet, a study at Portsmouth University shows otherwise. To perform this, they simply had 4 groups, with 10 men each. They all participated in 90 minutes of exercise before trying different techniques to cool down. One group stood in cold water for 10 minutes, and another stood in hot water for the same length of time. The third group sat in cold water for 2 minutes, whilst the remaining group walked lightly for 12 minutes. To measure this, muscle performances were checked before and after exercise, at 12 hour, 1, 2 and 5 day intervals.
Yet with all of this, no difference was found in the results, from anyone’s biochemical markers of muscle cell damage! This raise the question; is there any point of ice baths?
Dr Corbett, who led the research, at the University of Portsmouth, said “The rigours of sport can require people to train and compete at an intense level so there is considerable interest in finding ways of increasing the amount of training they can do and in improving recovery time and thereby increasing performance.
“But it is clear from this study that water immersion, whether in traditional ice baths or in warm water, sitting or standing, does nothing to improve recovery time compared to traditional cool-down light exercise.
“Indeed, research is increasingly pointing towards cold water immersion as posing a possible threat to people’s health.”