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As much as nobody likes to sit in an ice-filled bath, or stand in the icy water of the sea at the end of a hard training run, ice baths really do help our muscles to recover quickly, says physiotherapist Kate Senini.
Increased training outside your usual program, be it longer distance running or more interval and hill training, will affect the ability of your muscle fibres to function, causing them to become fatigued. This leads to micro trauma and micro tears, resulting in inflammation. The inflammation in turn causes sensitivity of the nerve endings within the muscle, which causes pain, and localised swelling which causes a sensation of muscle stiffness or tightness, often referred to as DOMS – Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness.
Ice is important to settle the inflammatory response quickly – acting to constrict the blood vessels and capillaries within our muscle tissue. This decreases the chemicals that flood to an area in response to the micro tearing, and allows the body to repair damaged muscle fibres more quickly, and build new muscle fibres to cope with the higher volume of training load.
Our body can then adapt to greater distances or speeds required to meet training demands, and with Run Melbourne just around the corner, there’s never been a better time to pack on the ice – think how much better you will be on your next run!Back to blog home