Is cold water good after exercise?
Cold water reduces your core body temperature and helps lower your heart rate which improves your exercise performance and recovery.

Your core body temperature increases with exercise. Cooling your body down during intervals between exercises and after completing your exercise session is very important. Drinking cold water will help you with cooling down your core temperature following good exercise.

Experts suggest that cold water is absorbed faster from the gut, which will help restore hydration faster.

What happens if you drink cold water during and after exercise?

While performing high-intensity exercises, you must keep yourself well hydrated. With increased physical activity, your core body temperature increases. As a protective mechanism, you start sweating.

Sweating may seem unpleasant or undesired, but it helps cool you down when it evaporates off your skin. However, excess sweating causes dehydration, which leads to various unwanted complications. Therefore, you must rehydrate yourself by consuming water. If not, your body will dehydrate, resulting in a variety of physical consequences.

  • Cold water not only reduces your core body temperature but also helps lower your heart rate which improves your exercise performance and recovery.
  • As body temperature increases, you feel fatigued, and your performance reduces. 
  • Studies report that if you drink cold water while exercising, you are less likely to get dehydrated and will be able to exercise for a longer period without feeling exhausted.

However, it is not required that your water should be cold; you can even drink water that is of room temperature while performing exercises. It is not the temperature of the fluid but the consistency of intake of fluids that plays a big role in the rehydration of the body.

How does dehydration affect your body while exercising?

Dehydration can cause painful muscle cramps, which is another consequence of high-intensity exercises. If you drink adequate water, especially with added electrolytes, it will protect you from muscle cramps.

Water is crucial for regulating various bodily activities. You need proper fluid intake to accomplish these activities while exercising:

  • Regulating your body temperature
  • Supporting muscular movements
  • Maintaining blood volume

Dehydration leads to the following:

Confusion, muscle weakness, and loss of consciousness are symptoms of severe dehydration that require immediate medical attention.

What happens to your body after a cold water shower post-exercise?

With exercise, your muscles get inflamed and swell, and you may feel pain, especially if you are a beginner. A cold shower helps relieve muscle pain, swelling, and discomfort and helps reduce the inflammation caused by heat. Scientists believe that a cold shower is more helpful in treating muscle micro-tears caused by exercise than a hot shower.

Cold water baths after exercises help in recovery.

There is a new concept called “recovery shower,” which means taking a shower with alternative temperatures of cold and hot water following exercise. Some studies report that this type of shower has shown better results in cooling down the body rather than just cold water baths.

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Medically Reviewed on 5/11/2022
References
Image Source: iStock Image

The effect of a cold beverage during an exercise session combining both strength and energy systems development training on core temperature and markers of performance: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3472188/

Is It Better to Drink Cold Water While Exercising? https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/features/is-it-better-to-drink-cold-water-while-exercising

Post-exercise Cold Water Immersion Effects on Physiological Adaptations to Resistance Training and the Underlying Mechanisms in Skeletal Muscle: A Narrative Review: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fspor.2021.660291/full