Ice is nice for injuries – if you do it right

No one wants to get injured while working out, or deal with a nagging issue such as sore knees or shin splints.
One of the best ways to heal faster, or make a chronic problem more manageable is to ice the area correctly.
It’s important to know the right way to ice, or else you could do more harm than good.
Here are some icing Dos and Don’ts, so that your body doesn’t freeze up long term:

* Do ice the affected area as soon as possible after a workout or game if you‘re experiencing pain. This decreases swelling and starts the healing process.
* Don’t ice before a workout or run. Numbing your body can block pain receptors that might tell your body to ease up and could set you up for further injury.

* Do ice for 15-20 minute increments, the ideal time that almost all trainers recommend Any shorter time period will cool your skin, but have minimal effect on the muscles.
* Don’t ice for more than 20 minutes. This is one instance where more isn’t better and you could actually risk getting frostbite. If the skin starts looking red, you’re pushing it. You might want to put a thin layer, such as a paper towel, between the ice and your skin.

* Do ice during the day, with five different treatments ideal. Space them at least 45 minutes apart
* Don’t put off seeing a doctor if ice and rest doesn’t improve an injury.

At Home Fitness consultant Aaron Dorksen’s blog deals with a variety of fitness topics, ranging from workout tips, motivational ideas and feature stories on how exercise impacts people’s lives. E-mail him with comments, questions or ideas for future blogs at aaron@athomefitness.com

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