When To Heat Up And When To Cool Down

Mark EisenhartBy now you are well on your way to a chiseled and ripped physique, and you might already be dealing with injury or at least a ton of soreness. This week, we are going to talk a little bit about what to do when it happens. I urge you to nip this in the bud because injuries can set you back in your training, or worse still bring it to a complete standstill.

Common practice encourages icing an acute injury and heating a chronic injury. Unfortunately, most of us do not understand the difference between acute and chronic so we self-treat with whatever feels right. Honoring your physiology with the proper use of the two can reduce your down time.

Here is the chill on ice:


Ice constricts blood flow to muscles. As the muscle cools, the amount of blood in the muscle diminishes as the constriction process pushes it out. This is great to help reduce bruising, swelling and discomfort. As the muscle warms and the blood vessels expand, new blood comes rushing in and cleans the debris left behind from the injury and stimulates the healing process. It is recommended that ice be only applied for 10 minutes every hour. The more often the cycle is allowed to transition, the faster one’s body can recover from an acute muscle injury (injury having severe onset and a short course). Always place a towel between the body and the ice to prevent trauma to the skin. NOTE: Increasing the icing time has a negative effect on the body.


When it is time to turn up the heat:


Moist heat is a great treatment tool for chronic muscle injuries (injuries persisting for a long time). Moist heat applied to the injury site opens up the blood vessels allowing blood to flow more freely. Typically, chronic injuries have some sort of ischemia (lack of blood) associated with them. The ischemia is detrimental to healing and the moist heat helps reduce it. Apply moist heat for up to 20 minutes every hour and always place multiple towels between the body and the moist heat to prevent trauma to the skin.


Always warm up before exercise, cool down after, and follow a proper stretching program as this simple routine will also reduce your risk of injury.


Next week we will talk a little bit more about High Intensity Interval Training. Oh, and by the way, my story is featured in Optimyz Magazine which hits newsstands all over Canada on Tuesday. You can also subscribe to it online at www.optimyz.com.


Training day is now! Train hard. Eat clean. Stay positive. 


Mark Eisenhart is a sponsored athlete, transformational speaker, spokesperson for Warrior Force TM, actor, author, and brand ambassador for Gaiam TV.  He has appeared on over ninety programs including CBS’ The Doctors, MTV’s Real World and True Life, TNT's Leverage, NBC's Grimm, G4’s American Ninja Warrior, Veg News Magazine, Vegan Health and Fitness Magazine, Transpire, Natural Awakenings Magazine, Optimyz (in Canada), and numerous other media outlets. Mark is a twice decorated firefighter / paramedic retired from Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue and is the recipient of both a Medal of Valor and a Community Service Award for Heroism. He is also the host of Rattle the Cages Radio on www.voiceitradio.com which airs on Monday evenings at 5pm PT. His website is www.getimpowerednow.

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