CONTRAST SHOWERS and Recovery
Similar to the 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.
For some athletes having access to an ice bath can prove too difficult.
It can also be a timely procedure, making contrast showers a more attractive option.
The shower is straightforward. The athlete starts by standing under the hot shower for three minutes. They then turn the hot water off and the cold water on and remains there for one minute. The cold water is then turned off, and the hot water back on.
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?
Seemingly every year there is аn increased undеrѕtаndіng оf thе ѕіgnіfісаnсе of thе recovery рrосеѕѕ fоr аthlеtеѕ аt аll levels of ѕроrtѕ. To реrfоrm аt оnе’ѕ bеѕt, an athlete needs to trаіn аt one’s bеѕt. Tо trаіn аt оnе’ѕ bеѕt, maximal rесоvеrу bеtwееn sessions іѕ critical. Diet and sleep are obviously important facts, but a deeper recovery level can be necessary for those who are training at exceptionally high levels daily. There is an extensive list of contrast shower health benefits, and they have shown their worth through both anecdotal tales and scientific evidence.
Are cold showers better than hot showers in every way?
- Hot showers can relieve tension and soothe stiff muscles; if you have a powerful showerhead, even better! Let the hot water work like a mini massage on your shoulders, neck, and back.
- 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!
- On the more vain side of the spectrum, cold showers are better for our hair and skin. A hot shower can dry things out; cold showers hydrate and help with split ends and dry skin.
- 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, it’s 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.
- Jumping into the shower without letting it heat up, or going into the ocean without slowly acclimating to it, can help promote hardening, increasing tolerance to stress and even disease.
Andrew was elected Vice President of the Association of Track and Field Statisticians in 2020 after being a member for 7 years.
He has worked as a PSC Consultant and Research Assistant from 2013-2015, Consultant, and Sprint Coach at Zamboanga Sports Academy from 2015-2017.
Current editor and chief of Pinoyathletics.info, and has recently done consultancy work for Ayala Corp evaluating the Track and Field Program.
Coaches Sprints, Middle and Jump events he is working towards his Level 3 Athletics Australia Coaching Certification in Sprints and Hurdles.
He can be contacted on [email protected]
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