The Importance Of Using Ice For Athletes Exposed
Importance of Using Ice
We are here again with the owner of Cheer Destiny Allstars, John Mayuga, who is here to discuss with us how important ice is for self-care. Athletes who are routinely training in high levels of activity such as cheerleading, football, gymnastics etc. would benefit from what John has to tell us about the importance of using ice for self care.
“All athletes who are routinely training in their prospective activity or sport put their bodies through a high level of stress. There are two types of inflammatory states, acute and chronic inflammation. Acute inflammation affects the body after the activity or exercise. For example, when weightlifters lift heavier weights, because of the stress and intensity they put on their muscles the muscles must recruit more fibers in order to lift the amount of weight. In order for the muscles to accomplish this, the muscle tissue rips and tears with every repetition in order to repair itself and recruit more fibers so that the next time the muscle is put under that level of stress it can handle it. This is when the acute inflammatory process, or better worded as the healing process begins. However when an activity is done without sufficient amount of rest, inflammation can continue and develop to a chronic state. For example, tendonitis, or conditions similar to it, is common in cheerleading and gymnastics typically in the wrist and ankle areas.”
“When such conditions occur many athletes, in my experience, rely heavily on the use of heat for its ability to relax the muscles and ease the level of discomfort. In my experience I also see the heavy use of NSAIDs (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) amongst a lot of younger athletes for its ability to relieve inflammation and pain. The problem with both is that heat actually induces inflammation and can prolong the condition, and NSAIDs only masks the pain, and although it reduces inflammation it does not reduce the damage done to the tissue. Ice, which is ideal, is a natural anesthetic and not only reduces inflammation but also reduces the damage done to the tissue. Because of the temperate difference, ice also increases more blood flow the affected area, allowing the muscle to heal faster. Ice is usually overlooked because of its uncomfortable to apply it.”
“When treating the affected area ice must be applied directly to the skin and must be held until the area is completely numb. Submersion, which is where an entire limb or area is entirely immersed in water, ice, or both, is an effective technique when using ice. Although this can be applied with heat (warm water) as well, this is perfect when treating wrist or ankle discomfort. Contrast therapy, which involves the use of both heat and ice, is also an effective self-care when the muscle is tight and in discomfort. However, because heat induces inflammation, it is always important to finish with ice in contrast therapy. Ice is very important when training, and is essential to keeping the working athlete together.”
John is also a certified massage therapist and his expertise has helped him with treating his own athletes that he trains. He constantly reminds his athletes to “Ice, Ice, Ice!” and so we remind our readers to do the same.
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