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Ice baths

Symmetry Physio - Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Following an Ironman Triathlon is cold water immersion worth it??


Cold water Immersion following Ironman Triathlon - Is is worth it??


Cold water immersion (CWI) or ice bathing, has become a common practice amongst athletes over the past decade, used to aid recovery. There is some existing evidence that supports this for the use after activities less than 2 hours in duration. But is it always worth it?

A recent study sought to find out the effects of CWI on triathletes who had completed an Ironman Triathlon event consisting of a 3.8 km swim, 180 km of cycling, and a 40.2 km run.

33 triathletes were included and randomly split into an intervention and non-intervention groups with an average finish time of 11.5 hours.

Measures taken included ratings of perceived exertion (RPE), perceived thirst, perceived thermal sensations, and a 10 cm visual analog scale (VAS) for delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). A blood test was also performed to assess for CK (creatine kinase), testosterone, CRP (c-reactive protein), IL-6 (interleukin 6), cortisol and myoglobin. These markers are typically observed for muscle damage and inflammation.

Upon completion of the race, participants were taken to the medical tent, and those in the intervention group underwent 10 minutes of CWI.

The baseline measures were re-assessed at 16 and 40 hours post completion of the event.

It was found that a single 10-minute CWI did not provide a physiological benefit during recovery for athletes within 40 hours post completion of an Ironman triathlon event.

> From: Stearns et al., J Sci Med Sport 21 (2018) 846-851. All rights reserved to Elsevier Ltd.

Click here for the online summary.



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