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Cold plunge tubs are all the rage right now. The idea of cold therapy isn't particularly new, but with the like of Chris Hemsworth recently taking on the ice bath lifestyle, it's clearly influencing more people to embrace it.
Videos of uber-fit people lowering themselves into ice-y plunge pools dominate social media, and after being saturated by this content you may have been drawn into the idea. You may have gone one step further and been convinced to buy one. In this case, you may feel overwhelmed by the many choices there are on offer.
With so much variety, in size, materials, and price points it can be difficult to know what is best. Each has a unique selling point, but if you are just starting out perhaps you should reconsider splashing thousands of pounds straight away. You needn't spend a tonne of money to have an ice bath. You can even try the viral chest freezer hack to test out the technique before you invest.
We have spoken to some ice bath enthusiasts and fitness experts to get their tips on selecting the right ice bath for you and compiled a list of some of the best you can try.
What are the benefits of an ice bath?
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So we have already established that ice baths are part of the routine of most fitness-conscious people and athletes at the top of their game, but do we actually know why they are so beneficial?
'Ice baths have many benefits,' says healthy and fitness expert Rick Kaselj, who has specialized qualifications in injury recovery. And one of the most attractive benefits is the ability to help the body recover quicker after exercise. 'Regular ice baths help reduce muscle inflammation and soreness after intense physical activity. The cold temperature constricts blood vessels, limiting the release of inflammatory agents,' he says.
Cold water immersion enhances overall fitness and performance by minimizing the effects of muscle fatigue and improving muscle function. 'Cold exposure promotes better blood circulation, aiding in the removal of metabolic waste and facilitating muscle repair and recovery,' explains Rick.
It can also have great mental benefits according to experts. 'Cold exposure in ice baths can contribute to mental toughness and resilience,' says Rick. 'Individuals learn to manage discomfort and develop a greater sense of control over their reactions.
Best budget cold plunge tub
Insulated so you can keep your ice bath for multiple uses, this design has a lid, too, and a ring for comfort while using. The price speaks for itself.
Best-looking cold plunge tub
Material: Red Cedar
A simple, but good looking plunge pool finished in red cedar, with steps for easy access. The cooling unit is an optional extra.
Best luxury cold plunge tub
Size: L 70” x W 33” x H 35"
This cold plunge tub is filled with features, including an integrated cooling system that can chill water as low as 36°F.
Best "hot and cold" plunge
Max/,in temperature: 107.6°F / 37°F
This tub goes both ways, able to cool down to a chilly 37°F, but also provide a warm soak too in just a couple of hours. It's surprisingly portable, given its size (it can fit two people, after all!)
What do I need to consider before I buy?
There is a lot of jargon surrounding the fitness community that can be intimidating when you are first starting out. We have compiled a checklist of top things you should consider when purchasing an ice bath to hopefully make the process less daunting.
'It all depends on your budget, space, and goals,' says Founder and CEO of Submerge Ice Baths, Jack Niederer. Before buying an ice birth consider your restrictions. 'What's your budget? How much space do you have? Do you need to move the ice bath regularly or at all? Do you have access to ice frequently? Are you going to submerge by yourself or with others? What kind of climate do you live in?' says Jack. 'These types of things will all factor into what kind of ice bath makes the most sense for you.'
On top of that, there are the more technical questions relating to the design of the ice bath. An ice bath is typically for one person and should be at least 320L, however, if you are taller this should be increased.
'Look for ice baths with effective insulation to maintain a consistent temperature during your recovery sessions,' says Rick. This is important as the effectiveness of an ice bath relies on a maintained temperature.
Ensure you consider the durability of materials that will withstand regular use. Equally, if you require portability opt for models with wheels and handles for easy transportation.
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Amy recently completed an MA in Magazine Journalism at City, University of London, with experience writing for Women’s lifestyle publications across arts, culture, and beauty. She has a particular love for the minimalist aesthetic mixed with mid-century furniture, especially combining unique vintage finds with more modern pieces. Her previous work in luxury jewellery has given her a keen eye for beautiful things and clever design, that plays into her love of interiors. As a result, Amy will often be heard justifying homeware purchases as 'an investment', wise words to live by.
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