Last Updated on July 9, 2023 by Andrew Pirie
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CONTRAST SHOWERS and Recovery
Similar to ice baths, contrast showers are used to help remove waste products from the body. Also, to enrich it with newer and more highly oxygenated blood. Having access to an ice bath can be too challenging for certain athletes.
Contrast showers are a more appealing choice because they can also be a quick process. It’s simple to use the shower. The athlete begins by spending three minutes standing under a hot shower. They stay there for a minute before turning off the hot water and turning on the cold. The hot water is then switched back on after turning off the cold water.
This cycle is repeated two more times for a total of three cycles. The important part of this recovery method is to ensure that the athlete finishes on cold and not hot. This helps to stimulate the body’s nervous system.
When undertaking the one minute of cold. Ensure that the cold water makes contact with the major muscles in the legs, Also spend time with the cold water striking the back of the neck. It has been proposed that contact with cold water over this area maximizes the recovery of the central nervous system.
What are the benefits of a contrast shower?
There seems to be a growing awareness of the significance of the recovery process for athletes at all levels of competition every year. Athlete must train at their best in order to perform at their best. Maximal recovery between sessions is essential for effective training. Diet and sleep are obviously significant factors, but for people who train at extraordinarily high levels every day, a deeper level of recovery may be required. There is a long list of contrast shower health advantages, and both anecdotal stories and empirical data support their use.
Are cold showers better than hot showers in every way?
- Hot baths can relax you and ease tense muscles; a strong showerhead is even better. Give your shoulders, neck, and back a mini-massage by letting the hot water do the work.
- Studies have shown that taking a hot shower can amp up your oxytocin levels and ease anxiety. Anyone working with stress can use more of the love hormone in their life!
- A hot shower also acts as a natural decongestant to relieve cold symptoms since the hot steam moisturizes nasal passages.
- Cold showers — as unbearable as they are — are actually perfect for our bodies! Turning your shower cold for the last five minutes can help “shock” your body awake. This instant temperature change relieves your body of fatigue and increases your mental alertness.
- A “cooler” shower (around 68 degrees) for two to three minutes once or twice daily is recommended by researchers as a treatment for depression. Just make sure you check in with your doctor before testing this out!
- Cold showers are healthier for our skin and hair, to put it more vainly. While a hot shower might dry out the body, a cold shower can moisturize the skin and aid with dry skin and split ends.
- Cold water can improve circulation by encouraging blood to surround our organs, which can help combat some skin and heart problems. As cold water hits the body, its ability to get the blood circulating leads the arteries to more efficiently pump blood, therefore boosting our overall heart health, according to Dr. Joseph Mercola, a natural health expert. It can also lower blood pressure, clear blocked arteries, and improve our immune system.
- Cold showers can unexpectedly aid weight loss. The human body contains two types of fat tissue, white fat, and brown fat. White fat is accumulated when we consume more calories than our body needs to function, and we don’t burn these calories for energy. This body fat piles up at our waist, lower back, neck, and thighs and is the one we all struggle to eliminate. Brown fat is good fat, which generates heat to keep our bodies warm. It is activated when exposed to extreme cold, according to the Joslin Diabetes Center, a Harvard Medical School affiliate. Thus, cold showers can promote brown fat activity.
- It can assist to increase hardening, improving tolerance to stress and even disease, jumping into the shower without letting it warm up, or gently acclimating to the ocean.
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“In 2020, Andrew advanced to the position of Vice President with the Association of Track and Field Statisticians, having devoted seven years as an active member. His impressive track record includes roles such as a PSC Consultant and Research Assistant (2013-2015) and a distinguished stint as a Sprint Coach and Consultant at the renowned Zamboanga Sports Academy (2015-2017). Today, he offers his expertise as a Consultant Coach with VMUF, starting from 2021.
A recognized voice in the sports community, Andrew is the Chief Editor of Pinoyathletics.info. Additionally, his consultancy contributions to Ayala Corp in evaluating their Track and Field Program underline his deep domain knowledge.
Proficient in coaching sprints, middle-distance races, and jump events, Andrew boasts a Level 3 Athletics Australia Coaching Certification, specializing in Sprints and Hurdles. He is also on a progressive journey towards obtaining a Masters Degree in Education.