Recovery is one of the 5 facets of fitness along with sleep, nutrition, mindset and movement.
We don’t actually improve in the gym, we improve once our body has had time to recover and adapt. While sleep is and will always be the best method for recovery, we can supplement our sleep with other modalities such as contrast showers to speed up the process.
It’s such a simple thing that everyone can do at least once a day (hopefully you’re showering that much). All you need to do is switch between hot and cold in the shower. I like to start with hot for a minute and then cold for a minute and repeat 3 or so times. I like to finish on cold but that’s up to you and has it’s own benefits which we’ve spoken about before at length.
The contrast of hot, to cold, to hot, to cold… works like a pump, squeezing and relaxing the blood vessels and forcing new, oxygen rich blood into that area. The pump also works to flush out waste or fatiguing by-products that have been left over after exercise.
There’s also been some work done showing how contrast showers can boost the immune system by increasing white blood cell count. A healthy, robust immune system is much better at recovering from strenuous exercise and allows us to fight off inflammation easier.
Plus subjectively you just feel fantastic after transitioning from hot to cold a few times. Each round you do, the cold water gives you less and less of a shock, so battle through the first one and enjoy the fresh feeling afterwards.
Our fitness and our health is just the accumulation of marginal gains over the long period. Simply turning the knob in the shower every day is another one of those small habits that leads to long-term growth.
Good luck and let us know how ya go.