The more you train, the more you need to recover.
Many athletes get so caught up closing activity rings, counting steps, competing in Strava challenges, or reaching a distance goal, that they forget to make recovery a priority.
One form of recovery, that often gets overlooked is an Epson Salt Bath.
Especially in the cold winter months, a hot sudsy bath does sound pretty inviting. But, besides being relaxing, how else does it help you recover?
We don’t have many concrete scientific studies that support how an Epson Salt Bath helps recovery, but we do know that it works. On the most basic level, taking a warm bath helps calm the nervous system which has a ripple affect, allowing your body to direct it’s energy into repair mode.
If you want to take it a step further, if the athlete also uses this time to focus on breathing, or follows another form of relaxation technique such as listening to music or reading a novel, your brain has time to shut off and recharge. Think of your body like your iphone; it has a long battery life, but the more you use it, the longer you need to stop to recharge.
So what is it about the Epson Salts?
Dissolving epson salts in water releases magnesium and sulfate ions, which can be absorbed through the skin. Magnesium plays many crucial roles in the body and is required in more than 300 essential metabolic reactions in the body. Some of the most important roles for an athlete are:
regulates energy production aka improves performance
regulates muscle and nerve function
regulates blood sugar levels
regulates blood pressure
helps release melatonin which helps you sleep
So, instead of thinking of your bath as a guilty pleasure, you can add it to your arsenal of recovery tools to make you faster, stronger, fitter, and healthier overall.
In the summer, we will talk about ice baths and contrast baths, which also have amazing benefits in aiding recovery, but much harder to convince when it is already cold outside.