Ice baths and pollution

This article was originally posted by Ryan at the original Blogs.

Believe it or not, I didn’t feel like I had a ton of great material that demanded a Monday post last week. I have a couple interesting things this week, though.

Ice Baths: We all hear about the benefits of ice baths. It is generally accepted that they are good for you. College teams gather in the training room after practice for team ice baths. The elites regularly do it. I remember when I was in school gathering outside the fieldhouse when the weather was nice to take my turn in the ice barrels that the trainers would have ready for us. When the weather wasn’t as good, the whirlpools would be waiting for us at the end of practice and we’d gather in the back room of the training room to take our turns. This still goes on today at probably almost every college and many high schools.

Ice baths suck but they are good so we do them. But are they really good?

A recovery placebo administered after an acute high-intensity interval training session is superior in the recovery of muscle strength over 48 h as compared with TWI and is as effective as CWI.

CWI is cold water immersion. In other words, this suggests the benefits of ice baths are at least partly, maybe completely, the result of the placebo effect.


Do you run in a densely populated area with a lot of vehicle traffic and/or other sources of pollution?

Well, good news and bad news.

The good news: Running is better for you than the pollution is bad for you. So, even if you’re running in the pollution, you’re doing more good than bad.

The bad news: While you’re doing more good than bad, there is bad.

Keep doing what you can, even if it means running in pollution. However, try to change what you can to reduce the amount of pollution you have to breathe. Consider running before the morning rush hour, running away from streets and on motor vehicle free trails if possible. On particularly bad days, consider running inside where climate control systems will filter out some of that pollution. Probably nothing new but a good reminder.

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