Q Ice pack or hot bath: which is bet­ter for post-work­out pain?

Women's Health (UK) - - IN THE KNOW -

Bub­ble bath wor­thy of a #self­care­sun­day post? Or a tub colder than a death stare from Anne Robin­son in her Weak­est Link days? Us­ing tem­per­a­ture to ease DOMS has be­come a hot topic – and not just for elite ath­letes. ‘If you’ve done en­durance ex­er­cise – say, a marathon – re­search has found that soak­ing in com­fort­ably steamy wa­ter will help your ex­hausted mus­cles re­gain strength more quickly,’ says ex­er­cise phys­i­ol­o­gist and trainer Pete Mccall. If you have an area that flares up reg­u­larly – your ham­strings or lower back, for ex­am­ple – he sug­gests a heated pad to im­prove cir­cu­la­tion. But, for im­me­di­ate post-ex­er­cise throbs, grab an ice pack, as this can re­duce swelling and numb pain in lo­calised spots – es­pe­cially joints, such as the knee, hip or an­kle. Just done a sprint ses­sion or a Crossfit class? Go ahead and turn on the cold tap. ‘For in­tense work­outs, ice moves blood to the body’s cen­tre to keep your or­gans warm,’ ex­plains Mccall. ‘When you get out of the wa­ter, blood flows ex­tra-hard back to your ex­trem­i­ties, pro­mot­ing heal­ing.’ Aim for 15 min­utes in to­tal, in three-minute in­ter­vals. Brr-ill.

Run­ning hot and cold

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