I lose energy when I ice bathe. Is that normal?

By Johan Seistrup

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Ice bathing can lead to fatigue and exhaustion in the body, and it's entirely normal. When your body is exposed to cold, as it happens during ice bathing, it triggers a series of defense mechanisms to maintain core temperature. This includes increased metabolism, shivering, and other physiological reactions, all of which require energy and can lead to fatigue afterward.

Ice bathing also causes a rapid narrowing of blood vessels (vasoconstriction) to preserve body heat, followed by expansion (vasodilation) as the body warms up. This process requires significant energy and can strain the circulatory system, ultimately resulting in fatigue.

Ice bathing stimulates the release of adrenaline and other stress hormones. These hormones prepare the body for a "fight or flight" response, which can be very energy-demanding. After a hormonal "rush," you may experience a 'crash,' leading to fatigue.

The body's physical response to cold, in general, can include intense muscle activity, such as shivering, to generate heat. This can be physically exhausting and lead to muscle fatigue.

The process of rewarming the body after ice bathing requires energy, which can also contribute to a feeling of tiredness. It's essential to take time to warm up again (REMEMBER: a warm bath, warm drinks, and warm clothing).

It's important that the approach to ice bathing is gradual and under the supervision of a qualified person, especially for beginners, to avoid overloading the body and ensure a safe and positive experience.

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