Cold bath after sport

Ice bathing after sport helps you recover

Effects of the cold bath on regeneration

In top-class sport, bathing in the ice tub has long been used as a means of recovery. During strenuous training, waste products from the energy metabolism accumulate in the muscles, which can lead to fine tissue injuries. As soon as you step into cold water, your blood vessels contract. Your body reacts with heat and when you leave the ice bath, your blood circulates and removes the waste products. Inflammatory reactions caused by micro-injuries also occur less frequently after an ice bath. You can recognize good blood circulation by the pink color of your skin and the typical tingling sensation.

Effects of different water immersion methods on recovery after physical activity

Cold water immersion (abbreviated to KWI, also known as ice water immersion ) is a cold therapy method that is used to regenerate muscles after peak sporting performance. The stressed muscles or limbs are immersed in water at a temperature of 12 to 15 degrees Celsius, sometimes colder, for 5 to a maximum of 20 minutes[1][2 ] This subsequently leads to increased blood flow to the muscles and consequently to an increased supply of nutrients and the removal of metabolic waste products, which, among other things, should shorten the regeneration time of the muscles and prevent or reduce muscle s oreness (DOMS, delayed-onset muscle soreness).

In 2011, German sports scientist Arnd Krüger cited two studies in which cold water immersion was compared with the traditional hot water bath in a fatigue pool on the basis of the performance and signs of fatigue of soccer players treated accordingly during a tournament. Both the performance of the players treated with cold water immersion was highly significantly better and the symptoms of fatigue were highly significantly lower.[5] An evaluation of 17 studies with a total of 366 participants by the Cochrane Collaboration (2012) found evidence that cold water immersion could indeed be effective against muscle soreness, although the overall quality of the studies was rated as low: Possible complications had not been adequately considered and comparative data on other treatment methods was limited[3

  1. Fatimah Lateef: Post exercise ice water immersion: Is it a form of active recovery? In: Journal of Emergencies, Trauma and Shock. Vol. 3, No. 3, 2010, pp. 302-303 (
  2. Jump up to:a b c d e f Philip D. Glasgow, Roisin Ferris, Chris M. Bleakley: Cold water immersion in the management of delayed-onset muscle soreness: Is dose important? A randomized controlled trial. In: Physical Therapy in Sport. Vol. 15, No. 4, November 2014, pp. 228-233, doi:10.1016/j.ptsp.2014.01.002
  3. Jump up to:a b Chris Bleakley, Suzanne McDonough, Evie Gardner, G. David Baxter, J. T. Hopkins, Gareth W. Davison: Cold-water immersion (cryotherapy) for preventing and treating muscle soreness after exercise. In: The Cochrane Library. No. 2, 2012, doi:10.1002/14651858.CD008262.pub2