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Is It Okay To Drink Ice Cold Water After Exercise?

After a great workout, all you need is to replenish your fluid loss. What could be better than water after exercise? But is it okay to drink ice-cold water after exercise? These days, many suggest drinking cold water after exercise is beneficial. Is it true? And how much cold is good enough? Let us understand these things in detail.

Studies suggest that intake of cold water or ice slurry during exercise can be effective in improving endurance exercise performance in the heat.1 It may be beneficial for athletes but you would like to check what suits best to you.

Is It Okay To Drink Ice Cold Water After Exercise?

Is It Okay To Drink Ice Cold Water After Exercise?

There have been different opinions about whether or not to have water right after the exercise and particularly the temperature of the water. Ice-cold water after exercise was thought to be a big no, considering that it can shock the organs and can affect the natural cooling process. Some also believed that cold water can constrict the blood vessels and affect the blood flow to the body parts thus causing a hindrance in the recovery after exercise.  

However, recent studies have shown that drinking cold water after exercise helped delay the increase in core temperature during an exercise session in a moderate climate in euhydrated subjects.2 In this study that was conducted in 2012 the subjects were given cold beverages after which their performance improved in some areas.

Many studies earlier have raised a concern that a rise in core temperature significantly affects the performance of sportspersons. Due to the hot environment, the endurance exercise capacity is affected, which gives rise to body temperature and increases the risk of dehydration. Hence, in the case of athletes sportspersons, and people who regularly exercise in a hot environment, it may be useful to drink cold water.

Experts report that exercise performance can be significantly impaired when 2% or more of body weight is lost through sweat.3 It is reported that water loss can affect performance after 60 to 90 minutes of exercise. Hence, sportspersons are advised to maintain pre-exercise hydration of about 500 ml of water the night before the competition, then 500 ml on waking up, and again 400 to 600 ml of cool water before the onset of exercise. Even during exercise and sports performance, they need to stay hydrated. Frequent intake of cold water, every 5 to 15 mins is advised during exercise. It is also suggested that athletes should train themselves to drink large quantities of water during their training sessions and consume even more water in hot and humid climates.3

So if you are wondering if it is ok to drink ice cold water after exercise, the answer is yes, if you are involved in such sports activities and performances, and no if you do not tolerate it well.

Here are some of the benefits of having cold water after exercise.

Lowers Core Body Temperature – Prevents overheating, reduces loss of fluids through sweat, and prevents dehydration. Keeps you cool even when you are performing physical activities, which helps you perform better.

Feels Better – Having cold water can be satisfying for many. The palatability of drinks can influence fluid consumption during exercise, which can affect the hydration status. As cold water is better accepted and more palatable, it can help to prevent heat illness, and fatigue and will help boost performance by mitigating the risks. A 2012 study concluded that cool beverages, which were less than 22° C, significantly increased the palatability and fluid consumption, thus improving hydration during exercise as compared to the control group.4

For some, it may be okay to drink ice-cold water after exercise but for some ice-cold water may be a concern too. Some people are more prone to respiratory troubles, cold, sinusitis, and sore throat and may not tolerate ice-cold water after exercise. Moreover, if your exercises are not very demanding or at strenuous as athletes and sportspersons, you may feel good with cool water. Room temperature water may also be good enough for those who cannot tolerate very cold water. The purpose is to have water that is cooler for you after exercise so that it helps you cool down and prevents overheating and dehydration. Warm water will surely make you feel hot and you will sweat more, so at room temperature, cool or cold water is the best way out, depending on what suits you.

While plain water is the best to have, some may prefer to have sports drinks that offer hydration and also help replace electrolytes. Water infused with fruits, lemon or herbs is also a great pick, as flavored water gives a refreshing feeling.  


There are conflicting opinions and limited research on the impact of cold-water consumption on thermoregulation and exercise performance. More research needs to be done in this respect and more data must be collected to determine the ideal choice of hydration in general for people engaged in exercise.2

However, considering some of the risks involved in consuming ice-cold water some people, it may be a good idea to avoid taking very cold water. Consuming room temperature water or cool water may be a good option in such cases. Athletes and sportspersons who practice at a very strenuous level not only need to maintain hydration but also need to keep their body temperature low in the heat. They may be benefited from taking ice cold water, which can help improve their performance.


Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:October 15, 2022

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