After a long day or workout is over and it’s time to recover, we have a short list of things we’d like to do to help you relax: get a full-body massage; take a nice hot shower; maybe sip a protein shake. A cold bath doesn’t immediately come to mind. But according to many top strength coaches who work with pro athletes, soaking in a tub full of ice is something that can make a big difference in the way your body recovers. WHY IT WORKS, your body needs to “repair” itself to prepare for the next workout session. It does so with the help of blood vessels that bring oxygen to your muscle tissue while removing waste products of exercise — the most common being lactic acid. Too much lactic acid build-up can cause your muscles to function poorly and will often lead to fatigue. A cold bath will immediately reduce swelling while flushing lactic acid out of your body. When you sit in a cold bath — or when you rub a cup of ice on the muscles you just trained — the cold causes your blood vessels to tighten. This helps drain the lactic acid out of your tired muscles. When you get out of the bath, your muscle tissue warms back up, causing a return of oxygenated blood to help your muscles recover.