The ice bath and the baptism of fire

Graham took over at the wheel yesterday leaving me free to read the sports pages of the Guardian. Here, my sense of who Theo Walcott might be was enhanced somewhat as, in the photograph accompanying the player’s baptism of fire to the Premiership, he was pictured displaying a dog-tag in his hand for his late pet Gypsy.

Elsewhere I learned that Alan Shearer has introduced punctuality, shared mealtimes and the ice-bath to the Newcastle United playing staff. We discussed the purpose of the ice bath; none of us knew what it was. Below follows the science. The secret element of the new Shearer regime that the Guardian report neglected to mention was how he’d coached his players to dive to the ground as if hit by a sniper’s bullet at even the slightest approach from an opposition player.

By Craig Smith, Lancashire CCC physiotherapist

In simple terms, it’s about helping the muscles, tendons, bones, nerves and all the different tissues used in sport recover from their workout. Just like Michael Schumacher’s car needs a complete overhaul with new parts and tyres after a Formula One race, the body needs to service itself and its parts for the next day, next race or next match.

The body does this with the help of the blood vessels that bring oxygen to the tissues and remove the waste products of exercise, the most common being lactic acid. Too much lactic acid build up can cause the muscles to function poorly and over a long period of time feelings of fatigue, heavy legs and general tiredness can set in.

So how do ice baths help to boost the body’s recovery processes and prevent injury? When you get into an ice bath for five to 10 minutes, the icy cold water causes your blood vessels to tighten and drains the blood out of your legs. After 10 minutes your legs feel cold and numb. When you get out of the bath, the legs fill up with ‘new’ blood that invigorates his muscles with oxygen to help the cells function better.

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8 Responses to The ice bath and the baptism of fire

  1. OS. says:

    If I had an ice bath I would never recover.

    *note: winger now has a showfer. What next? An ex-SAS man to take over from Philip? He’s already stopped making appearances in D’s after the game. I can understand how a few stray proles like me and ST and Mr Pink are beneath his dignity but even his equal, Eli, isn’t worthy of his worthyness.

    Phtttttt. 😦

    M le etc…

  2. Stephen Foster says:

    It is Elt who is shunning me, he never returns my calls. His friendship is the metaphorical equivalent of, ‘the cq is in the post.’

  3. OS. says:

    “It is Elt who is shunning me.”

    I can’t blame him for that, but I s’pect it’s because he’s going through a mid-life crisis. He needs support. I shall do my bit by cooking something special for him next weekend. Mother him like. What will you be doing for him?


  4. Stephen Foster says:

    ‘What will you be doing for him?’

    Telling him to pull himself together.

  5. makemeadiva says:

    The purpose of the ice bath is no better demonstrated IMHO than the case of Red Rum being kept sound by Ginger’s application of the Irish Sea after gallops on Southport beach 🙂

    Also I must say RIP Wichita Lineman 😦 who deserved better.

  6. makemeadiva says:

    And whilst I’m at it, clogging up your blog with morose comments; RIP the squirrel that Rudi caught this morning. Not content with his first kill he had to put a gory display of slamming the poor thing onto a gravestone in front of my 6yo daughter.

    My sensible friend says if he even looks “crooked at the cat” I am to beat him with the newspaper. I know it’s what dogs do but it’s still not tennis is it?

  7. Stephen Foster says:

    Lurchering types: they only pretend to be pets, the truth of the matter is they are fierce brave noble savages.

    RIP Wichita indeed. I didn’t see the race, & I’m glad to have missed it. AP must think he’s got the curse at the moment.

    ‘even looks crooked at a cat’ :–) Is your sensible friend direct from a Sam Spade movie?

  8. makemeadiva says:

    It’s the wit and wisdom of the Irish! Next up a muzzle full of cream cheese…

    It didn’t help that the cat caught a frog at the weekend – we are surrounded by feral beasts at this house 😉

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