by Team Snapbac
All of us who went through physical education in the last thirty years were taught the RICE method for an injury: rest, ice, compression, elevation. Ice and injuries have been together as long as sports and medicine. Now, your workouts can benefit from ice and compression perfectly designed to be worn with maximum mobility and comfort before, during and after your workout. This means you get the advantages of cooling packs and muscle stabilizing control directly built-in to your favorite exercise gear. If you’re not sure how this benefits you pre-injury, take a look at the recent advantages found for athletes who ice!
Every athlete knows their best friend is the cold, whether it’s ice packs, ice baths, ice vests or even creams and gels that bring in that icy feel. Cooling down worn muscles or pains and strains has an instant effect on swelling and inflammation. The cold also helps to numb any pain you may be experiencing. Runners may ice their feet while pitchers may ice their shoulders. This is the go-to treatment for physical injuries as well as the preferred care for athletes who tend to overuse particular joints, muscles or ligaments.
Many athletes say ice helps against delayed onset muscle soreness. While this research has been difficult to quantify, we will take the word of those using it for themselves. It has been proven that muscle tissue benefits as the cold constricts the blood vessels and reduces fluid build-up which would create any inflammation and pain. The effect continues as you remove the ice and your blood vessels begin to expand once more allowing a rush of blood to the tender area bringing in fresh oxygen and carrying away any residual acid.
The newest research shows how icing before and during training and events can increase energy and stamina while possibly reducing the risk of heat related injuries. Tests conducted in the Netherlands focused on varied cooling techniques for male athletes before and during workouts by using ice baths, packs and vests and ingesting ice water and slurries.(1) The reasoning behind this is as your core body temperature increases during physical exercise so does your skin temperature and the body exerts energy to cool you down.
Pre and per cooling helped to reduce thermal strain and conserve energy for the task at hand while reserving blood flow to carry oxygen to the muscles rather than the skin which delayed fatigue. In Dr. Thijs M H Eijsvogels’ study, this showed a 6.7% increase in performance for those who stayed cool in comparison to athletes who simply iced after their workout. The advantage may seem small, but when it comes to the big race or game, this difference between first and second is usually under four percent!
Ice packs are a safe and proven benefit for any athlete, so you have nothing to lose by slipping them into your compression clothing before or during your training. At the least, you help prevent heat exhaustion and discomfort on these hot summer days!