The Benefits of an Ice Bath

By: Brian Elder

Its finally cold outside again, but one thing that stays cold all year long for runners are ice baths. While some runners cannot withstand the bitter cold of an ice bath, others swear by them for the recovery benefits they offer. Below we have listed some of the benefits that an ice bath can provide for a runner so that the next time you think about skipping this recovery tool you might reconsider the polar plunge. 

1. Flush out lactic acid.

- Lactic acid is one of the things that causes fatigue in your muscles after a difficult workout and an ice bath is a great way to help rid it from your muscles. As your blood vessels tighten from the cold temperature, the lactic acid will make its way out of your system quicker allowing new blood cells to replace it. 

. Reduce swelling

- Swelling is one thing that can cause a runner to stay off the road as they try to recover from an injury. To reduce swelling a combination of cold and heat can help remove this so an ice bath is a great way to reduce swelling in your muscles if you sprain your ankle for example.

3.  Reduces muscle soreness

-Like we mentioned above, lactic acid can cause fatigue and soreness in your muscles. The ice bath will help reduce that feeling of being sore that you feel the next day. Make sure to get in an ice bath as soon as possible after a workout to see increased results. 

Bonus:

-If you do not like plunging your body in an ice bath, we still recommend cold therapy treatment from an ice pack or even a bag of frozen food or vegetables. 


Brian Elder is a learner, amateur explorer, and nomadic runner that is going to run until it takes him somewhere. He is a graduate from the University of Georgia where he read lots of books and wrote papers.  After running competitively on trails and roads, he fuels with an appetite so big you would swear it’s competitive.  Follow Brian on Instagram.