Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Post-Run Ice Baths Not Beneficial for Strength, Soreness

20.08.2013
Dunking in a tub of ice water after exercise – a surprisingly popular post-workout regimen used by athletes to reduce inflammation and speed recovery – is time consuming and bone-achingly painful. New research from the University of New Hampshire finds that it may not be effective, either.

In a study published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology, researchers report that research subjects who engaged in post-exercise cryotheraphy, or ice baths, showed no mitigation of post-exercise strength loss or decreased soreness compared to a control group.

“It doesn’t help you feel better and it doesn’t help you perform better,” says lead researcher Naomi Crystal ’11G. “Ice baths are very popular as a treatment, but the research is really mixed as to whether they’re beneficial. They’re miserable. If it doesn’t work, you don’t want to waste your time.”

The study was Crystal’s master’s degree thesis; co-authors are UNH associate professor of kinesiology Dain LaRoche, assistant professor of kinesiology Summer Cook, and associate professor of molecular, cellular and biomedical sciences Dave Townson.

For the study, the researchers recruited 20 recreationally active college-age men to run for 40 minutes downhill at a grade of -10 percent. Half the subjects then submitted to a 20-minute ice bath, standing in a tall recycling bin filled with thigh-high ice water cooled to a chilly five degrees Celsius (40 degrees Fahrenheit). “That’s really cold,” Crystal admits. “I had some guys close to tears.”

Crystal was interested in the ice bath’s effect on soreness, strength, swelling and inflammation. The researchers conducted three post-exercise measures taken at intervals from one hour to three days: they measured the subjects’ perceived soreness while walking down stairs; tested quadriceps strength on a resistance machine; measured thigh circumference; and looked at the concentration of plasma chemokine ligand 2 (CCL2), a marker for inflammation, in blood samples.

The researchers found no difference in strength or perceived soreness between the subjects who took ice baths and the control group. Thigh circumference did not change significantly for any of the subjects after the run.

Difference between the two groups’ CCL2 concentrations, while not statistically significant, showed a trend toward lower concentrations in the cryotherapy subjects, although this measure varied greatly between the subjects. “The study suggested that there might have been a mild reduction in inflammation, but it wasn’t conclusive,” says LaRoche, who was Crystal’s advisor.

The lack of difference between the control and the cryotherapy group surprised the researchers. “I expected to see an improvement in soreness, an improvement in strength with the ice bath,” says Crystal. She notes that research on ice baths has produced a range of results, in part because there’s no standard protocol for the treatment.

LaRoche commends Crystal’s study design for using biochemical, physical, and subjective measures, an approach that crossed departmental lines to involve co-authors from her department as well as Townson, from the College of Life Sciences and Agriculture. “It had a variety of ways of looking at whether ice baths were effective or not,” he says.

While the researchers state that their study does not support the use of cryotherapy for recovery from exercise, Crystal’s personal view is more moderated. “I’m not convinced that it doesn’t help at all,” she says. “Use them sparingly. Use them in tournament situations, use them with an athlete who has done something extraordinary. But for day-to-day athletes, I wouldn’t recommend them. They’re painful, and they’re time consuming.”

The article, “Effect of cryotherapy on muscle recovery and inflammation following a bout of damaging exercise,” is available online in the European Journal of Applied Physiology.

The University of New Hampshire, founded in 1866, is a world-class public research university with the feel of a New England liberal arts college. A land, sea, and space-grant university, UNH is the state's flagship public institution, enrolling 12,200 undergraduate and 2,300 graduate students.

Photographs available to download:
http://www.unh.edu/news/releases/2013/08/images/jesse-vo2max-8103_360.jpg
Caption: Naomi Crystal ’11G conducts research on the effectiveness of post-exercise ice baths in UNH’s Robert Kertzer Exercise Physiology Laboratory.

Credit: Amy Davies

http://www.unh.edu/news/releases/2013/08/images/icebath-1409.jpg
Caption: A chilly subject in a study on the effectiveness of post-exercise ice baths.

Credit: Amy Davies

Naomi Crystal is available at NaomiJCrystal@gmail.com.

Beth Potier | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.unh.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Rutgers-led innovation could spur faster, cheaper, nano-based manufacturing
14.02.2018 | Rutgers University

nachricht New study from the University of Halle: How climate change alters plant growth
12.01.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Developing reliable quantum computers

International research team makes important step on the path to solving certification problems

Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stiffness matters

22.02.2018 | Life Sciences

Magnetic field traces gas and dust swirling around supermassive black hole

22.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

First evidence of surprising ocean warming around Galápagos corals

22.02.2018 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>