If you're into hot yoga, running when it's 90+ degrees outside, or just sweating in general, we need to talk: ice water might be your new best friend (if it's not already). The secret to a better workout may be cooling off before and during heated exercise, according to Reuter's Health, by using methods like cold baths and sipping chilled water.
So what’s the point of cooling off when you’re just going to get hot again?
Dr. Thisjs M H Eijsvogels, the study’s author, explains for Reuters that it has to do with energy. Basically, when you work out, your body is doing everything it can to stay cool — which requires a lot of energy. If you can use other methods of staying cool before and during the workout, your body can focus all of that energy on the exercise as opposed to chilling your body. Make sense?
Oh, but there’s more — all science nerds should get excited right about now. Eijsvogels tells Reuters that by cooling off pre and post-exercise, more oxygen gets to those hard working muscles:
“More blood will be available for oxygen transportation to the exercising muscles, which enables a better performance,” he told Reuters Health by email. “Thus less energy and effort is spilled for heat dissipating mechanisms.”
If you haven’t already, feel free to stick your water bottle in the freezer right now; although, sipping cold water before and during your workout isn’t the only “precooling” method! In the study, conducted at the physiology department at Radboud University Medical Center in The Netherlands, athletes used cold water, as well as ice slurries, and wearing cooling vests or cooling packs to cool off.
The most effective method? Combining them. I know, the idea of wearing something called an “ice vest” in public sounds pretty ridiculous, but incorporating cool water into the mix (at the very least) seems like a pretty good start.
This isn’t the first time someone has suggested the cooling off method before/during a heated workout to yield better results. (Cut to: your elementary school coaches providing Styrofoam coolers full of half-chilled Gatorade and juicy juice.) Upwave explains that sipping cool water, as opposed to warm temperature water, can actually help you exercise for longer periods of time without getting tired.You also may or may not remember that time Stanford made a cooling glove that was said to be "better than steroids"... yeah, I'm sticking to ice water too!
As far as the cold vests/gloves/packs go, I'm not interested. But the cold water? I'm down. As a bonafide sweat addict, if getting a better workout is as easy as stuffing a few bottles of Poland Springs in the freezer the night before a run, I'm all about it!