Poor posture is becoming increasingly common. Over time, it can damage tissues and lead to chronic pain. You may be aware that bad posture can be harmful when you sit for long periods during work. But what about after work, when you’re relaxing? Does your ice bath posture matter, too?
The answer is a resounding yes. This article goes over the best practices for positioning yourself in your Ice Barrel. It then dives into the science behind posture. By the time you’re done reading, you’ll know exactly why sitting upright beats lounging or slouching any day.
What Is the Correct Posture for an Ice Bath?
Cold water therapy has been around for a long time. During ancient times, people would sit and often mediate in cold water. In recent times lounging in a bathtub or Japanese soaking tub became common. But now, we know we can reap more of those ice bath benefits if we sit in an upright position.
The goal is to avoid slouching as much as possible. It’s tempting to lounge when we’re relaxing, especially when tired, but it’s a big no-no for our health. And if you’re already braving the cold, why sabotage your health journey? An upright ice bath posture is the way to go.
Why Posture Matters: 5 Health Benefits
Growing up, we’re told to sit up straight for a reason. Maintaining good posture is a solid foundation for a healthy lifestyle.
1. Eases neck and shoulder pain
Have you ever caught yourself slouched—even while standing—looking at your phone? Doctors have a name for this: tech neck. It’s one of the most common bad posture habits, but it is easy to fix. Physicians recommend keeping the upper back and neck straight with the head directly above the shoulders to avoid neck and shoulder pain.
Fortunately, the shape of the Ice Barrel promotes this healthy no-slouching position. Because the inside walls of the tank are straight, your upper back and neck stay aligned in an upright position.
2. Prevents wear and tear of joints
Scientists found that having a good posture can slow or stop the progression of some types of osteoarthritis. Positioning your body in a healthy, balanced way—while sitting, standing, and relaxing—protects the joints from the dreaded wear and tear.
3. Can alleviate chronic pain
Not having good posture can make chronic pain even worse. Patients with degenerative disorders, especially, can benefit greatly from simply adjusting how they stand and sit, according to a 2018 study.
Cold therapy can also be a helpful tool in fighting chronic pain. The low temperature of the water helps reduce inflammation and calm pain receptors. It’s the same logic as using a nice pack to ease the pain. For example, sciatica (a spine problem that can severely lower quality of life) can be managed through cold water immersion—especially in an upright tank, where your spine is protected and supported by the Ice Barrel walls.
4. Boosts physical performance
Scientists at an Australian university asked athletes to do pushups before and after sitting in a slouched position for 15 minutes. They measured stress signals sent by the back muscles during the workouts. The results surprised them: physical performance was much worse after the slouching “rest” period.
If you’re a fitness lover, you now know to always maintain good posture. Ice baths can also boost physical performance and even enhance recovery, easing muscle spasms and soreness. But they have the most effect when you stay in an upright position like you would inside an Ice Barrel—otherwise, like what happened with the Australian athletes, your performance could tank.
5. Can improve cognitive function and focus
Researchers in 2018 found that good posture can improve cognitive function for some people. They asked students to do mental math calculations while sitting up straight and slouching. Surprisingly, students with the most math difficulties and testing anxiety scored worse while slumped in their chairs. Scientists concluded that bad posture could inhibit abstract thinking and focus.
What Is “Good Posture”?
Good posture imposes the least amount of stress on your muscles and joints. Because everybody is different, there isn’t just one way of sitting correctly. But generally speaking, it looks like this:
- The buttocks touch the back of the chair.
- Weight is distributed evenly between both hips.
- The back is straight but still maintains the natural cervical, thoracic, and lumbar curvatures.
- The shoulders rest to the back and away from the ears.
- Knees are flexed close to a 45º angle.
- The feet rest flat on the floor, more or less at hip height (use a footstool if you need to).
Tips for Achieving and Maintaining Good Posture
Having a good posture takes some work, but the benefits are well worth it. Here are some tips to help you straighten up:
- Be mindful of your body. Catching yourself in a bad position and correcting it is key. It gets easier with practice.
- Exercise often. Maintaining a good posture is easier if your muscles aren’t weak. Focus on shoulder, chest, upper back, and core exercises.
- Take frequent breaks from sitting. Fatigue can happen even if you’re sitting up straight, so give your body a break. Stand up and walk around for a few minutes after sitting for 30 minutes.
Reap the Most Rewards with Cold WaterImmersion Therapy
Improving your posture is a good way to look after your well-being. But you can take an even more proactive approach by incorporating upright cold plunges into an Ice Barrel into your routine. Their anti-inflammatory, mood-boosting, and muscle-repairing properties make it worth braving the cold—plus, they’re not as intimidating as they look.
The Invitation to Adventure
We are inviting you on an extraordinary adventure to explore the depths of your potential and experience the incredible results Ice Barrel will produce in your life. Not just for you, but for the ones you love most and the things you are most passionate about.
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