Heat or Ice


If you have ever been injured or felt sore after an intense workout, you may have found yourself wondering whether to use ice or heat. Below, find some tips and research to help you decide!

 Immediately after the injury occurs, use ice! Do not leave the ice on for more than 15 minutes. Continue to use ice for up to 36 hours following an injury!After 36 hours, discontinue ice and begin to apply heat if you are still experiencing pain. If swelling is still present, use a compression wrap throughout the day and elevate the limb when able. Elevation is effective to reduce swelling when raised above the level of the heart. For example: after an ankle injury, lie flat and prop your foot up on several pillows of the back of a couch.


-Decreases joint stiffness
-Helps to elongate muscles/tissues when applied before stretching
-Reduces risk of injury (this is why you wear layers running in the winter)
-Promotes healing by increasing blood flow to the area and warms tissue before activity

Take away – It is beneficial to use heat to warm up the tissue before activity

-Prevents/reduces swelling – especially important within the first 2 hours following an injury
-Crushed ice packs are more effective than chemical or gel packs
-Ice with rest, elevation and compression are the best way to combat swelling and increase healing

Take away– Icing after injury helps to reduce swelling and inflammation. Compression and elevation also help to decrease swelling and improve healing timeline.

After working out, using a sauna seems like a great way to relax sore muscles and decrease tension. 
Before using the sauna, read these tips!

-The heat causes a decrease in blood pressure and an increase in heart rate, which may cause lightheadedness, feeling faint, or dizziness especially if you stand up quickly. Confirm with your doctor that you are healthy enough to use a sauna before going in.
-Do not stay in the sauna for more than 10 minutes. 20 minutes or more can result in cardiac issues.
-No one under the age of 16 should use a sauna
-Saunas can help with acclimatization if you are training for races in a hot climate.Take away– Research suggests that sitting in a sauna for 10 minutes 1-2 days following a workout can help relax muscles that feel stiff while preserving muscle strength and decreasing pain. However, using a sauna before a workout may cause a decrease in muscle strength



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