Changing Thinking Around Exercise Recovery
Since the turn of the millennium, a lot of the leading thinkers in post-exercise recovery focussed on blood flow restriction via ice baths. Weight and credence were added to the methodology by high profile athletes such as Paula Radcliffe claiming that post-training ice baths helped her to recover from training sessions faster.
The justification of cold water immersion post exercise amongst advocates is that it helps to reduce DOMS and globalised markers of fatigue-associated pain. For those involved in multi-event sports such as Heptathlon and CrossFit, or athletes taking part in tournaments where they are expected to perform multiple times across consecutive days, further justification can be made on the basis that there are psychological benefits .
Whether or not the ice baths are effective is a matter of debate. Scientifically-speaking, the evidence supporting post-exercise cold water immersion is frankly, weak . There’s a considerable weight of evidence that suggests cold water immersion post-exercise may even be a negative because it can blunt an adaptive physiological response to training and even impact future exercise performance.
Of course, this doesn’t change the placebo or psychological effect of the cold water immersion, but it leads us to question whether or not there is a better universal approach to recovery.
Blood Flow Stimulation and Recovery
As recovery thinking has evolved, the importance of blood flow and its role in post exercise recovery has come into focus. As the fundamental mechanism of delivery for recovery nutrients, oxygen and the removal of waste products, blood flow management has been identified as a key component of exercise recovery.
The early thinking around blood flow stimulation as a post exercise recovery protocol involved sauna use. Evidence suggests that sauna use improves nitric oxide production , which has numerous benefits pertaining to exercise and recovery. We will take this as a starting point for further investigation into KYMIRA and post exercise recovery, given we know that KYMIRA products are proven to increase nitric oxide production.
The benefit of nitric oxide in the context of post exercise recovery is that the vasodilation effects act as a muscle relaxant. The improved blood flow enhances the delivery of healing agents to the tissues, which reduces the time by which feelings of DOMS have disappeared.
Further investigation into the role of nitric oxide during the muscle recovery process has shown that it is largely responsible for the activation of satellite cells which in part govern the rate and quality of repair of muscle tissue . By stimulating nitric oxide production and release as soon as possible post-exercise, the repair process of tissues damaged by exercise will begin in earnest, resulting in a reduction in recovery time and the intensity of the DOMS felt by the athlete.
Addressing Post Exercise Recovery
Exercise recovery is a complex field and the approach taken needs to be tailored to the activity. What is clear though is that the older method of reducing tissue temperature with cold water immersion appears to lack any real scientific credence.
Cold water immersion also suffers from practicality issues – to implement the approach you need access to an ice bath, which isn’t always possible, especially if you’re travelling away from home. You’d also have to wait for the bath to fill up or have someone available to do it ahead of time.
Furthermore, it’s uncomfortable to do. That means an athlete is less likely to engage in cold water immersion as a recovery tool, especially after a cold race or training session.
If you contrast that with the infrared clothing approach, you’ll see the difference.
Scientifically speaking, infrared has a far heavier weight of evidence in support of it as a recovery tool. From a number of different viewpoints it has been proven to benefit recovery. The stimulation of circulation, the increase in nitric oxide release and the reported reduction in DOMS are key points in this debate.
Financially, it’s significantly cheaper, the application of the approach is more targeted as well. A runner or cyclist can easily target the legs with leggings, or a rower can target the back and shoulders with a top without having to expose their entire body, like they would with upper body cold water exposure.
Finally, there’s the practicalities. Recovery starts the second the infrared garments are worn. They can be worn for hours at a time – overnight is no problem, boosting recovery for longer. This more intense form of recovery means you’ll repair and recover much more quickly than you would using alternative methods.
KYMIRA Products and Exercise Recovery
There are numerous physiological and practical benefits to the use of KMIRA products for recovery that means they supersede cold water immersion as a protocol. Where we wouldn’t be as bold to write off cold water immersion completely, we would be willing to stand by the fact that infrared technology has the beating of it scientifically, physiologically, practically and financially.