The Masters is finally here! With two days down and two days to go, the leaderboard is still very much up for grabs in beautiful Augusta, Georgia. As those players who made the cut are prepping for the weekend, managing varying levels of muscle fatigue and soreness will be crucial to a strong performance. Cold therapy might be the secret weapon to help their muscles recover faster, and stay fresh throughout the remainder of the tournament.
Cold therapy has become more and more popular in the golf realm with players like Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler utilizing cryotherapy as a vital recovery technique. Cryotherapy is a form of cold therapy that involves entering a nitrogen filled chamber to expose the body to temperatures around -200 degrees Fahrenheit for about 3 minutes. While not every player has access to cryotherapy, other forms of cold therapy have many great benefits for high performing athletes.
How cold therapy works:
Exposing the body to the cold can help to reduce inflammation by lowering the temperature of damaged tissue, constricting blood vessels, and numbing nerve endings – leading to immediate pain relief.
Enhanced mood and mental clarity are also benefits of cold therapy. The cold increases levels of dopamine and norepinephrine which directly impact your mood and mental clarity, helping you feel more energized and focused.
While not everyone has access to cryotherapy, especially while on the road for a tournament, cold therapy can still be utilized as a recovery tool.
Two ways you can incorporate cold therapy at home:
Cold Showers: Start by adding 15 seconds of cold water at the end of your shower. This will feel uncomfortable at first, but the goal is to relax your muscles, breathe easy, and embrace the cold! Overtime you can increase this time to about 10 minutes, or the full length of your shower to maximize the benefits.
Ice Baths: If you really want to embrace the full benefits of cold therapy right away, you can also try an ice bath. Start by filling your bathtub with cold water from the tap and add two to three bags of ice. Fully submerge your body in the bath. Start with 5 minutes and then try to work your way up to 15 minutes overtime.
Cold therapy can be used the night before, or the morning, of a round of golf. While you may be shivering a bit, just remember your performance is only as good as your preparation and recovery!