Icing Your WoesWhenever your muscles are feeling a bit sore or overworked, you should remember my motto, “Ice Early, Ice Often.” Arguably the most effective way to do that is to immerse your muscles in an ice bath.

An ice bath can consist of using a full sized whirlpool type contraption, or by dumping a bag of ice into a bucket of water. With a bucket, you can immerse your feet. With a full whirlpool, you can immerse as much of your body as you want to. In general, you should not immerse more of your body than you have to in order to completely cover the sore muscles in water.

Somebody that is new to using an ice bath will probably not be able to stay immersed for more than a minute or two. As you get used to it, though, you will be able to increase your immersion up to 5 or 10 minutes. You should never stay immersed for more than 10 minutes at a time.

The theory behind the ice bath is that your muscles constrict and the bloodflow is diverted to your deeper muscles close to the bone to keep them safe in the extreme temperature. When you take your leg or body out of the ice bath, fresh blood rushes through that does not have any of the chemicals released by your muscles as you ripped and tore them during exercise, such as lactic acid. This speeds up the healing process.

In general, using an ice bath is a one time event that should be done as soon after your workout as possible. Once you get out, you should do some gentle stretching and warm your muscles back up. You do not want to get back into your ice bath until after the next time that you exercise.