Ice-baths, foam roller and stretching will aid in your post-marathon recovery

Plunging into near-freezing water might sound like a kind of torture after running a marathon, but a Gold Coast sports scientist says research shows that you’d be doing your body a massive kindness.

It speeds up the the recovery process, says Southern Cross University exercise scientist Dr Luke del Vecchio.

“Immersing the body in cold water, for 10-15 minutes reduces body temperature, blood flow and inflammation in tissues of the muscles,’’ he said.

In layman terms, ice-baths change the way blood and other fluids flow through the body.

“When you sit in cold water, your blood vessels constrict; when you get out, they dilate – much like the effect of wringing water out of a rag or towel. This process helps flush away metabolic waste post-exercise,” he said.

Similar to the ice-bath, using the foam roller after exercise speeds up the recovery process by improving blood flow to the muscles, relieving muscle tension, joint stress and increasing the range of motion or flexibility in the body.

“Importantly, these benefits are not anecdotal. Research has concluded that foam rolling is an effective tool in recovery after exercise,” he said.

“The current body of research demonstrates that stretching may have several beneficial effects including decreasing muscle soreness, increasing flexibility, blood flow and decreasing neural excitability or nervous tension in the muscles,” he said.

posted Sunday July 7th