HOT OR COLD THERAPY? // we weigh up the recovery benefits of each!
Turning up to training consistently and grinding it out is important, yes, but to ensure you're getting the absolute most gain out of all the hard yards you're putting in, RECOVERY is just as important as training when it comes to achieving your goals. After pushing through session after session, week after week, it's absolutely crucial to stay on top of your recovery in between workouts to avoid injuries, sickness or totally burning out.
Hot and cold therapy are just two ways you can help your body recover from a tough day or week of training, but you might be wondering - which one is more effective? We weigh up the recovery benefits of each below.👇
HOT THERAPY • aka sauna, hot tub, steam room ♨️🧖♀️
Studies have found that heat therapy such as chillin' in a hot tub can raise your core body temperature and improve blood flow, helping to lower blood pressure and reduce inflammation. An enhanced blood flow can also help eliminate buildup of lactic acid post-training, so heat therapy can help you back up the next day no dramas!
To target tight muscles that really need an extra little bit of TLC, try appling heat directly to the inflamed area in your body. This will dilate the blood vessels, promote blood flow, and help relax your tight muscles! Remember, your bod has just worked HARD at training, so you gotta make sure you look after it in between each session.
Here are three main benefits of heat therapy:
HELPS REDUCE INFLAMMATION
INCREASES BLOOD FLOW TO ELIMINATE BUILD UP OF LACTIC ACID
HELPS RELAX TIGHT MUSCLES
COLD THERAPY • aka ice baths, icing, a dip in the ocean during winter 🥶🧊
Whilst hopping into an ice bath may not be as enjoyable as relaxing in a hot tub, cold therapy definitely has its benefits too. Immersing your body in cold water helps reduce inflammation and improve your recovery by changing the way blood and other fluids flow through your body. When sitting in cold water, your blood vessels constrict, then when you get out they open back up which helps flush away the build up of waste in your body post-workout.
In addition to cold water immersion being a great recovery option for your body overall, ice is the go-to for the immediate treatment of a range of sports injuries as well. Direct application of ice to a specific area can help treat a swollen and inflamed joint or muscle.
Here are three ways cold therapy can benefit your recovery:
HELPS FLUSH OUT BUILD UP OF WASTE POST-EXERCISE
HELPS SLOW THE RATE OF INFLAMMATION
HELPS TREAT A RANGE OF INJURIES
The verdict? Both hot and cold therapy have their own unique benefits and place in your recovery regime. So why not switch it up and include a bit of both after your hard sessions to give your body the very best chance at recovering?! Make sure to also stay on top of all your other forms of recovery too, such as hydration, refuelling with a balanced diet, sleep, stretching and foam rolling. Treat that beautiful bod of yours with the love it deserves for all the incredible things it does for you. Remember - recovery is KEY!