What shower temperature is best for post-workout recovery?
If you prefer to jump in a cold shower after training, you may have a better chance of recovering. A study 2019 reported that cold showers can aid recovery after working in hot environments. During the study, researchers looked at nine healthy men who cycled high-intensity for 45 minutes in the heat. What the researchers found was that cold showers had the ability to quickly reduce cardiac stress and post-workout heart rate. This is because exercising in hot environments results in your blood being shared between your heart, skin and muscles simultaneously, points out The runner’s world. And, cold water cools each of them the fastest. But why?
Exposure to cold water is not only refreshing, but it has the opposite effect of heat. Instead, cold temperatures slow blood flow to the body because blood vessels are constricted (via Form). This process is called vasoconstriction. According to Aaron Drogoszewski, an NASM-certified personal trainer, “This increased demand strengthens the heart and blood vessels, translating into longer-term improved circulation” (via Runner’s World). This reduction in blood flow from immersion in cold water can also help relieve soreness and limit muscle swelling and inflammation caused by working out, splits Journal of Physiology. Nevertheless, more research is needed to confirm the impact of cold showers on muscle recovery.
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