This is the question I have been asking myself recently, but I can’t figure out an answer. I think it might be time to weigh up the pros and cons and try to forget how much I hate being cold! I need to take a step back and try looking at this from a different perspective.
Are There Health Benefits?
Ok, so there are a few health benefits to this ice bath shenanigan and most of them date back decades. Apparently, an ice bath can:
- Assist in the easing of sore and aching muscles
- Helps the central nervous system by aiding sleep and improving reaction time.
- Reduces any muscle inflammation.
- Trains the vagus nerve.
Personally, I am a bit skeptical about the aiding sleep part. I like to be snug as a bug in a rug when I go to sleep! I am not convinced I need an improved reaction time at 9/10pm (I only workout in the evening) either.
Also, if you are anything like me, you will read the above and then have to Google ‘what is the vagus nerve’? My understanding is that this nerve is the main nerve in the parasympathetic nervous system. This is the nervous system that controls digestion, heart rate and your immune system. All things that cannot be controlled consciously. By training the vagus nerve it can help you to face stressful situations better.
So far, so good, right?
Can I Do It Myself?
It looks pretty easy to set up your own ice bath at home – you can just use your own bathtub I suppose.
Or create a dedicated ‘ice bath area’ which I personally like the sound of. I’m thinking maybe outside on the decking. Really psych myself up to get in it, then jump in with no hesitation and no worries about spilling water and ice all over the place as it’ll just water the garden. Winning.
I’ll need something to use for my ice bath and I’m not keen on the idea of a metal one. In my head that feels like it will be even colder!
Recycled Plastic Tank 455 Litre - RM100TREC | UK (gforceeurope.com)
Why Wouldn’t I?
There are two main reasons why I wouldn’t do this. They are:
- I don’t see myself as an athlete – it appears to be mainly athletes that benefit from ice baths, and I am not one! Yes, I exercise regularly, I play a bit of sport and I have recently torn my calf muscle, but I am by no means an athlete.
- I don’t like being cold – ok, you only need to be in it for 10-15 minutes (any longer and you could be at risk of hypothermia and/or decreased blood flow which could lead to cardiac arrest or stroke.) but it really doesn’t sound appealing.
Am I Going To?
I am going to consider it. That’s a nice definitive answer. I can see the benefits, and really the only reason why I wouldn’t is that I’m a wimp and don’t want to be cold. Would an ice bath have prevented my injury? I guess we’ll never know the answer to that one. Will an ice bath assist me in getting back into my beloved sport quicker? Now there’s a deal breaker – but according to my research the jury is still out on that one.
Would you take an ice bath?
Do you take an ice bath already?
Is it time for me to bite the bullet and just jump in?
I mean if Mel C from the Spice Girls is doing it…?!