Plunging into a tub full of ice bath water may sound counterintuitive, but it’s an effective way to help you lose weight and recover faster from intense physical activity. The cold causes your blood vessels to constrict, which helps keep your internal temperature consistent and improves circulation throughout the body. As a result, your muscles get more oxygen and nutrients and are less likely to become sore and stiff.
Moreover, the contractions of your muscles help you burn calories to warm back up to a normal body temperature. The process can actually help you burn up to 10 percent more calories than just sitting in a room at normal temperature, says a longevity expert on the mindbodygreen podcast. In addition, the chilly water activates brown fat cells, which help you burn more calories.
The Chilling Benefits of Ice Baths: What You Need to Know
Another advantage of the cold bath is that it can help alleviate the pain caused by delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS). The cramping and tightness that occurs in your muscles several hours or days after you exercise can be uncomfortable, but soaking them in a cold bath will decrease inflammation and improve circulation to speed up your recovery.
The best part is that you can do this at home, and it’s safe for most healthy people. Start by dipping your feet into the tub, and slowly submerge yourself until your body is fully accustomed to the temperature. Make sure to have a towel and post-plunge clothes within reach. Get out of the bath slowly and consider doing some light movement like stretches or jumping jacks to get your blood moving again.