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When you work out or play your sport, you put your muscles through a beating that can leave them fatigued and sore. To help improve recovery and alleviate muscle soreness, try taking a contrast shower post-activity. (Learn more about post-workout recovery.)
A contrast shower is simple. All you do is alternate between hot and cold water. The hot water dilates your blood vessels and increases blood circulation, and the cold water constricts your blood vessels and decreases blood flow. The contrast creates a pump effect that flushes your body of lactic acid and other toxins that build up during exercise.
It's best to take a contrast shower after a workout, practice or game; however, you can take one on off days as well. The cold water might be shocking at first, but you will soon adapt and learn to enjoy the changing temperatures.
How to take a recovery-boosting contrast shower
- Start with a hot shower (but not too hot; it should not burn) for 2 to 3 minutes
- Slowly turn down the water temperature from hot to cold
- Take a cold shower for 1 minute
- Repeat the hot and cold cycle for 5 to 10 minutes for optimal recovery
- Place the shower stream on any painful or sore areas for added relief
Click here to find out how to complete your recovery with a post-workout meal.