Giving your body the opportunity to recover sufficiently is just as important as an intensive training block building up to a big endurance event.
For me, with the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon firmly in my sights next month, the need to balance the workload of many hard-wearing kilometres on the road with adequate rest and muscle recovery has never been greater.
Fed up of nagging injury niggles and fuelled by the desire to train harder – I embarked on the first of many Cryotherapy treatments at °CRYO in Dubai in early November. Fast forward seven weeks and I can certainly say it has been time well spent in one the city’s ice-cold facilities – a far cry from the UAE’s desert climate.
Twice-weekly, I’ve been spending three minutes in the Cryo Chamber – exposing my body to sub-zero temperatures of up to -140°C. The high-tech equipment uses cryogenic nitrogen vapour to decrease skin surface temperature by up to 50 degrees and send a memo to the brain, acting as a stimulant to the regulatory functions of my body.
The cooled air helps push oxygen through you and reduces muscle inflammation, releases toxins and combats general soreness. To put it mildly, it’s freezing – but very much worth 180 seconds of your time. While in the chamber, it helped a great deal to shuffle back and forth and keep moving, particularly as you wear next to nothing inside; only an undergarment, white protective mittens and slipper-like footwear – it’s a look I hadn’t worn before.
I have definitely felt a real sense of energy in my overworked legs after the treatment and I could tell my muscles were grateful. I could practically feel my blood circulating back through my body, but more enriched with oxygen. After the ‘Cyrosauna’, I had the option of jumping on a stationary bike and peddling down my body temperature, but I tended to move immediately into the next treatment.
As part of the full recovery experience at Jumeirah Emirates Towers, I used the Normatec compression machine – part of Cryo’s ultra recovery offering. It’s a unique bit of kit, with skin tight wrapping around your legs – helping to stimulate tired muscles, eliminate toxins and metabolites that can get you back into action quicker.
The treatment lasts for 20 minutes and as the Normatec expands and contracts, sending pneumatic pulse waveforms through your legs, I quickly could tell where my areas of pain were.
The system increases blood flow to damaged muscle areas and is a rejuvenating experience. The post-Normatec feeling felt very similar to the end of a yoga session, with a sensation of increased flexibility and movement. I wasn’t really expecting a vast difference so quickly, particularly as I completed the bulk of my sessions soon after my weekly long marathon training run of between 25 to 30kms.
If you are trying the treatments for the first time, it will feel a bit alien to you initially. Having completed 10 sessions – I’d recommend Cryotherapy and it is relevant to all athletic and general body types. It is convenient – you can do them during your lunch break – and there is also some evidence to suggest they can help with weight loss, with typically a few hundred calories burned during a single session.
If you were looking to shed a few kilos, you wouldn’t just rely on these treatments but if you factor in a healthy diet and plan your visit around work and trips to the gym, then you’ll definitely notice a difference. It is also great for injury prevention and managing aches and pains. The localised Cryo treatment targets specific areas of the body and runs the rule over injuries.
Combine this with some stretching and foam roller work from the comfort of your own home – and you’ll quickly get back in action. Personally, after the treatments, I now feel in a stronger position to tackle January’s marathon in Dubai. And it’s easy to see why Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Floyd Mayweather Jr, among many other sports stars, all use the treatments – typically straight after training.
It is the quickest and most efficient way to alleviate delayed onset muscle soreness after exercise and stay in peak physical condition. I’ll continue to use them and even though performance in a 42.195km race can often boil down to just how you pull up on the day, the feeling of fresher muscles can often prove the difference in getting over the finish line that little bit quicker.
What: °CRYO Emirates Towers Where: Emirates Towers, Sheikh Zayed Road Dubai and other locations across UAE, including °CRYO Fit Republik and °CRYO Abu Dhabi Country Club.
Cost: Prices vary depending on treatments.
Contact & Info: Call 043518300 or visit www.cryo.com to make an appointment.
Photos: Hiba Khan.