When to Use Hot vs. Cold for Recovery
In the recovery world, there is a lot of debate about whether heat or cold is better for the body. Some experts argue that cold is the way to go post-workout while others are adamant that heat is the proper remedy. Although we the love cold, there are times when warm temperatures can be just as beneficial – so when should you turn up the heat vs. cooling down? It depends on what you’re trying to accomplish:
Experts recommend using cold therapy to reduce inflammation. Why? Cold temperatures can help reduce blood flow thus promoting a decrease in inflammation AND swelling.
Increasing Blood Flow
The application of heat promotes vasodilation, which is the dilation of the blood vessels. Vasodilation increases blood flow, helping bring oxygen and nutrients to the heated area. Suffering from muscle tightness? Increased blood flow can help loosen muscles.
Decreasing Lactic Acid
Intense exercise can create a build-up of lactate, or lactic acid, in your bloodstream causing soreness, cramps and fatigue. Cold therapy, such as ice baths and whole body cryotherapy, can help flush lactic acid out of your body.
Stiff muscles, soreness from over-exertion, and “knots” in the muscles can all be alleviated with heat therapy as the application of heat helps relax muscles.
Alleviating Exercise-induced Pain
A combination of heat and cold therapy is recommended to help reduce pain and soreness associated with routine exercise.
Still not sure if you should use hot or cold? Connect with your doctor for a specific recommendation that is unique to you!
Ready to up your cold therapy game by implementing whole body cryotherapy into your post-workout routine? Click here to find a trusted cryotherapy location near you!