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Should you use ice baths?

After a hard workout, you want to relax and chill out - in an ice bath? It doesn't sound like fun, but it may speed your recovery. We look at the evidence.

In recent years, ice baths have become very commonly used by pro sportsmen - I hesitate to say popular, because few people actually enjoy them!

So why has this form of self-inflicted torture become so common? And is it something you should be doing?

Ice baths are designed to help your soft tissues (muscles, tendons, bones, nerves) recover from a workout or game and be ready for the next one.

The body repairs and services itself through the circulatory system - the blood vessels carry oxygen to the tissues and remove the waste products of exercise, in particular lactic acid.

Lactic acid is a key by product of hard exercise, and when too much builds up it causes your muscles to function poorly - you'll feel tired, achy, and have heavy limbs.

The theory is that the cold speeds up the removal of waste products from the muscles, and the replenishment of essential nutrients. So how do they work?

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