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Training for a half-marathon or feeling sore after returning to the gym or five-a-side after a long break? Ice baths are popular among seasoned athletes and recreational exercises alike for their supposed benefits. So what are these benefits and are wheelie bin ice baths the best way to get them?
An ice bath is a form of cold therapy that involves immersing the body in ice water. You can soak the legs, hips, and lower back in a regular bathtub. Or if you’re feeling really brave, wheelie bin ice baths let you submerge your body up to the top of your chest.
Studies are conflicting, however, there’s some evidence that ice baths are one of the quickest ways to reduce post-exercise inflammation and soreness. Here are the main benefits in a nutshell.
Exposure to the cold constricts your blood vessels. Once you get out of the ice bath, the blood vessels rapidly dilate again. This flushes all that nasty lactic acid out of your muscles.
The effects of the cold and the water pressure can reduce inflammation in the body.
Less soreness and inflammation means faster recovery. You’ll also feel hugely invigorated after exposure to the cold.
Being able to sit or stand in an ice bath requires a certain level of mental toughness. Exactly the kind of mental toughness that will carry you through a half-marathon or an intense workout.
Ice baths do have their benefits, though as you can imagine, plunging your body into icy water is not great for some people.
If you have issues with your heart, blood pressure, or circulation, ice baths might not be safe. Never try one without speaking to your doctor first. The same goes if you are pregnant or diabetic.
Submerging your entire body in icy water as you would in wheelie bin ice baths can also put you at risk of hypothermia. Never stay in an ice bath for longer than the recommended time.
Research has shown that 11-15 minutes is the optimum time to stay in an ice bath. Any longer than this and you risk hypothermia. Hypothermia occurs when your body temperature drops below 35°C. The drop in temperature can affect some of your vital bodily functions. Look out for these signs of hypothermia:
Without rapid treatment, hypothermia can be fatal.
Get around 2-5 bags of ice.
Fill up a large container like a wheelie bin, and add the ice gradually.
Immerse yourself in the water and stay in for 15 minutes at the most. That might feel like an impossible target at first. If that’s the case for you, just start with a few minutes at a time and build up.
Ice bath feeling unbearable? Try these tips.
After your ice bath, dry yourself and put on warm clothes. Your feet might be numb, so move slowly so you don’t fall. Have a hot drink to warm up your core temperature faster.
A wheelie bin is a practical and affordable way to submerge your entire body in ice water. Especially if you’re tall and you only have a small bathtub.
Of course, you need the right size bin, so make sure you measure up before you buy.
In our exclusive online range, there are plenty of different-sized bins to dunk yourself in. Just grit your teeth and get in!
For more interesting articles on all things wheelie bins, check out the rest of our blog.