By Meredith Nelson for Island Eye News
Anyone who knows me, knows that I do not like to be cold. I’d rather sweat profusely in 100 degrees with 95 percent humidity than be subjected to a cold room, drink a glass of water with ice, or step outdoors in February. If my car had seat warmers and a heated steering wheel, I’d probably leave them on year-round.
So when I recently sprained my ankle (during a PrimeTime Fitness Boot Camp, no less), the thought of icing my injury was not appealing. I knew the immediate remedy was “RICE:” Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. The sprain felt pretty bad – I thought it was broken. But the prescribed remedy was easy enough, and one I have been recommending for years. Rest? No problem. I can stay off my foot a day or two…or three…or, OK, maybe four…
Compression? Of course. What better way to control swelling and direct blood flow to the injured area to carry nutrients for healing!
Elevation? Easy enough. Keep your foot up, elevated at a level above the heart, to avoid bruising and blood pooling in the extremities. But ice, however, is a different story.
Coming from someone who hates to be cold, I was almost willing to forgo this part of the treatment plan. However, within an hour I did have an ice pack on my foot. And it helped. Some. Maybe.
I knew, deep down, that an ice pack isn’t really what is meant by the “Ice” in “RICE.” Although an ice pack is better than no ice at all, a better remedy for an injury is total submersion in an “ice bath” – a bucket or tub of water and ice.
Many athletes take ice baths – and not just for isolated injuries, but full-body ice baths as part of their post-workout recovery. Pro-athletes do it. Marathon runners do it. Elite athletes do it. After all, ice is a natural anti-inflammatory and pain reliever.
I’m not implying that I am an elite athlete or professional runner. But if the elites do it just as a recovery technique, it must be beneficial. I do depend on being able to push my body to make a living, and being unable to do so would significantly affect my lifestyle, not to mention my mood. So I chose to bite the bullet and stick my foot in a bucket of ice water.
I’m not quite healed yet, but I’m a believer. Two days after my stumble, my two-a-day ice baths have me maneuvering much better than anyone expected. So – you didn’t hear it from me, but ice is nice.
Meredith Nelson, M.Ed, is the owner of PrimeTime Fitness, Inc, in Mt. Pleasant. Certified through AFAA in Group Fitness, ACE as a Personal Trainer and Medical Exercise Specialist, and TPI as a golf fitness professional, Meredith has been bringing fitness to the East Cooper area for over twenty years. Since 2000, PrimeTime Fitness has catered to the mature exerciser and offers personal and small group training, indoor cycling, yoga, golf fitness training, monthly gym membership, and more. Meredith can be reached with your fitness questions at 843.883.0101, or Meredith@primetimefit.net.