How to Increase Running Peformance with Cryotherapy

Professional Runners, Athletes and amateur Sportspeople have traditionally used ice baths to help recover faster from their injuries, run faster and increase their performance.

The problem with ice baths is that the cold you experience in them can be an unrelenting, penetrating physical cold. You also need to stay in an ice bath for around 15-20 minutes for it to work.

Further, you run the risk of hypothermia and exercise is not recommended for at least another 12 to 24 hours. Whole Body Cryotherapy is very different. No session is longer than 3 minutes and you can return to exercise immediately afterward. The comfort level is much higher as the delivery of the cold air is dry.

How Whole Body Cryotherapy Improves Your Running

The reason Whole Body Cryotherapy may help you to improve your running performance is that it can decrease recovery time, increase athletic performance and boost the body’s metabolic rate.  A study published in the International Journal of Sports Physiology in 2015 showed whole body cryotherapy can enhance acute recovery of running performance in well-trained athletes.

The study examined the effects of a wholebody cryotherapy (WBC) protocol on eleven endurance athletes sessions in a randomized crossover design in which 5×5 min of high-intensity running (HIR) were followed by 1 hour of passive rest at ~22°C, including either a 3 minute whole body cryotherapy session at -110°C or a placebo intervention of 3 min walking. A test protocol was performed before and after the recovery periods to test time to exhaustion, alterations in oxygen content of the vastus lateralis (TSI), oxygen consumption (VO2), capillary blood lactate, heart rate, and rating of perceived exertion during running.

The results showed cryotherapy improved acute recovery during high-intensity intermittent exercise and that the improvements might be induced by enhanced oxygenation of the working muscles, as well as a reduction in cardiovascular strain and increased work economy at submaximal intensities.

What Happens During a Cryotherapy Treatment?

With whole body Cryotherapy, the body is exposed to extremely low temperatures of up to −150°c for up to 3 minutes. During this time, the average skin temperature drops to near zero whilst the core body temperature remains unchanged.  Once you are in the Cryosauna your head and neck area are not covered by the chamber and so are exposed to room air above the device. A fine nitrogen mist is then sprayed onto your body in order to lower the temperature.  You are never left alone.  A trained Therapist stays with you throughout your treatment and you can leave the chamber at any time you wish during the treatment.

During your treatment in a Cryosauna, the sudden exposure to extreme cold causes severe vasoconstriction of blood vessels in the dermal layer of the skin.  Blood is directed away from the skin and targeted to protect the vital organs. This stabilises the body’s core temperature. Your blood becomes enriched with hormones, oxygen and healing enzymes as it flows to the internal organs. As soon as you finish your treatment, your blood vessels then do the exact opposite – they dilate.  Enriched blood then flows back to the rest of your body.  Your blood flows faster and this can assist the lymph system to work more effectively.

Feel Exhilarated and Run Faster

Cryotherapy may not only improve your running performance but the experience can make you feel fantastic. The additional rush of ‘feel good’ endorphins helps combat the effects of fatigue which may leave you feeling refreshed and exhilarated. 

CRYO – Sydney’s Newest Sports Recovery Clinic

CRYO is Sydney’s Newest Sports Recovery Clinic, and has recently opened in Sydney’s Eastern Suburb of Edgecliff at 226 New South Head Rd, Edgecliff NSW 2027. Telephone 1300 332 796.  They have packages to suit all budgets and are happy to talk to you about a programme that suits your needs and goals.