Don't Cry, Try Cryo
Hey Endurers!!! Here is your Fit Tip!
There’s a chill in the air and if you are anything like me, cold means warm blankets, fireplace fires, warm soothing beverages… but for an active person or athlete, this may not be the best ritual for recovery after a hard workout or long run or ride. The cold has a positive role in recovery.
We have all heard of RICE - rest, ice, compression, and elevation. That does get the job done for some injuries or areas of inflammation. But is that all you can do? Have you ever seen professional athletes jump in a tub full of ice and water or a frozen pond or lake? Well that is another form of this cold therapy - cold water immersion. A really good remedy for recovery but for most is not practical and can be quite painful in an uncontrolled setting.
Also there is a limit to how cold you can make water.
Not feeling like taking a plunge?
In comes Whole Body Cryotherapy! Since about 2010, many spas and gyms have popped up that offer an opportunity to step into an insulated barrel where extremely cold dry fresh, oxygenated air is pumped in dropping the air temperatures to below -200 degrees for about 3 minutes. This combination of air/oxygen lessens the effects of shivering, goosebumps or other reactions that you might associate with being cold. And because of this, the majority do not experience pain. (Check out the YouTube summary about cold therapy below)
Sounds like fun?!! Well it is an experience!
A life hack method for this treatment is the “Polar Bear Experience”. The only requirement is that you live in a colder climate or have access to a cold room. Immediately after a vigorous sweat dripping workout or a few minutes in the sauna, remove your sweaty top and/or pants and run outside into the cold for about 5 minutes or as tolerated. Repeat this warm-cold cycle 2-3 times.
Too daring? Consider this….
There are some benefits to enduring the cold shock to your system that may be worth adding to your health and wellness program, including….
Reduced muscle soreness in elite athletes
Improves range of motion in muscles and joints
Rejuvenates skin tone and appearance
Supports the circulatory response
Increases blood and lymphatic flow
Enhances mood and memory
Reduces pain from arthritis and other inflammatory conditions
Aids in weight loss
Note: “While it seems like there could be some beneficial outcomes from it, this doesn't seem to be a breakthrough technology innovation that's going to change medicine," says Dr. Hallie Zwibel, director of sports medicine at New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine on Long Island. "At this point, it seems to be an adjunctive type of treatment."
**Disclaimer: The information given here is not intended to treat or cure any conditions. The reader is encouraged to read any resources available and make their own conclusion.
Cold therapy summary
Ice Bath Therapy
Whole Body Cryotherapy