Heat or Ice for Recovery?

Heat or ice? Which do you prefer for sore muscles?

Ice Cubes

I’m a heat kind of girl. I hate the cold and after a long run all I want to do is jump into a nice, hot bath. I know a lot of runners and athletes say ice is the way to go, but I just can’t do it.

Fortunately for me, despite the popularity of ice baths, it seems the jury may be out on the benefits of that one….which means I can go about my heat-loving ways 🙂 .

Dr Oz seems to think heat is OK unless you have an injury. Then ice is recommended to reduce inflammation in the case of sprains, strains, etc. I have no argument against ice or RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) if you’re hurt, but for regular aches, pains and stiffness I’d much rather heat, which relaxes the muscles, improves circulation and can reduce muscle spasms.

This article in Runner’s World says there is no data (as in hard scientific evidence) to support the benefits of an ice bath post run. However, it did say there is some anecdotal evidence. The sports doc quoted also did not feel that heat negatively affected post workout recovery. More good news for me!

I’m not a doctor so please don’t take my advice, but I do think the ice vs. heat debate is an interesting one. If you want to learn more, this column from the Washington Post is a good read. The columnist interviewed a physical therapist and a track coach to get their take.

As for me, my legs are soreeeeeee from the lower body workout I did last night. I can’t imagine what they are going to feel like after tonight’s run, but I do know I’m probably going to end up in the bath! Also, there may or may not be a glass of wine involved…who knows.


2 thoughts on “Heat or Ice for Recovery?

  1. I definitely prefer heat as well! I’m SUCH a wimp when it comes to being cold and would just be annoying and cranky if someone stuck my in an ice bath. I also might kill them ;).

    Heat for the win!

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