Athletes turn to the Cold Plunge

By Krista Payne
Posted . Filed under Health & Wellness.

Stainless Steel Cold Plunge Pool“We have a six-man cold plunge pool that will be at 50 degrees at all times. The players will be able to immerse themselves in there after a hard practice or a hard workout on their legs in the weight room.””

“There also is an identical hot spa with the water at a constant 106 degrees. While the cold-plunge pool is for post-exercise treatment or to combat inflammation, the hot-plunge pool can be used as a warm-up device and for treatment of chronic conditions.””

Rick Burkholder, head Athletic Trainer, Philadelphia eagles

Cold Plunge Pools were used in the 2004 Olympics in Athens – and unlike the secret weapons employed by some less scrupulous athletes, it’s both healthy and legal. The cold plunge pool is becoming one of the hottest trends in competitive sports.  Whether it be baseball, football, running or tennis, the feedback is that hundreds of elite athletes and specialists who have been using cold plunge pools are feeling pain relief after cold water immersion. Though it might be cold comfort to the athletes, bodily submersion in icy water has many health benefits. Since the cold helps reduce swelling in muscles and bleeding in tissue, Cold plunge Pools will also help damaged muscles rehabilitate. Affecting the whole body, this is especially useful in addressing potential muscle problems that the athlete may not even be aware of. A quick dip before, during, and after the race can significantly raise an athlete’s endurance levels.

Taking an after exercise plunge in an ice water bath (a tub of 12 to 15 degrees Celsius ice water) is a common practice among many elite athletes as a way to recover faster, and reduce muscle pain and soreness after intense training sessions or competitions. From elite runners like to nearly all professional baseball and football players, the ice bath is a standard practice routine.

In addition to the ice bath, some athletes use and contrast water therapy (alternating between cold water and warmer water) to get the same effect.

The theory behind ice baths is related the fact that intense exercise actually causes microtrauma, or tiny tears in muscle fibers. This muscle damage not only stimulates muscle cell activity and helps repair the damage and strengthen the muscles ( muscle hypertrophy), but it is also linked with delayed onset muscle pain and soreness (DOMS) , which occurs between 24 and 72 hours after exercise.

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