Working hard: Ajax Fitness introduces the new cold plunge, infrared sauna

Ajax Fitness owner David Mills (left) poses with fitness expert Bill Fabrocini during a public introduction to the gym’s newest cold plunge and infrared sauna on Tuesday.
Johnson Kuhn/The Aspen Times

Forget sitting on a couch for therapy, Ajax Fitness says try a cold bath.

The cold plunge, also known as cold water immersion or cold therapy, is now offered at Ajax Fitness along with the infrared sauna. To help introduce the new facilities to the public, owner David Mills held an event Tuesday to discuss recovery strategies along with the truth behind common recovery myths.

Since Ajax Fitness just opened its doors to the public this past spring, he said it’s an addition he wanted to offer from the start and is excited to finally be in a position to see the plan come to fruition.

“It’s really amazing,” he said. “Research is still developing as to how useful it is, and to be one of the only places in Aspen to have this facility, it’s great to be able to offer it to our members and community and use it.

Clinical Specialist and cofounder of Aspen Core Fitness, Bill Fabrocini, led an informational talk to explain the various health benefits of applying cold and hot temperatures to the body, such as combating fluid retention. aging, as well as improving athletic performance and reducing the risk of injury.

“The cold plunge has gained popularity because of its many benefits, which go beyond muscle recovery.” he says, “A cold plunge builds mental toughness and resilience, improves mood, and even enhances the immune response.”

Ajax Fitness owner David Mills demonstrates the use of the gym’s newest cold plunge facility.
Johnson Kuhn/The Aspen Times

Regarding the new sauna, Mills explained how infrared light is used to directly heat the body, which in turn provides a gentler and sharper heat, different from traditional saunas. The benefits of using an infrared sauna include detoxification through sweat, stress reduction and relaxation, improved circulation, pain relief, and skin rejuvenation. Regular sessions in an infrared sauna can help remove toxins, reduce muscle tension, promote a sense of calm, and enhance overall well-being.

“My favorite recovery routine is to combine two modalities known as contrast therapy,” he says.

Contrast therapy, also known as hot and cold therapy, involves alternating between hot and cold temperatures as a way of flushing toxins from the body, as well as reducing sore muscles and speeding up recovery. Fabrocini explains that warm temperatures dilate blood vessels and relax muscles, while cold temperatures constrict blood vessels and reduce inflammation. This alternative effect can enhance the body’s ability to recover from injuries, reduce inflammation after exercise, as well as improve overall athletic performance.

“The question people ask me is whether it’s all worth it, but the question is: Can you be consistent here? I think there are times, like an injury, people can pump themselves up to do these things and then, as they go back to everyday life, back off a little bit,” he said. “But I think some consistency is good; if you can try to commit to something even two to three times a week for half an hour, it can make a big difference.”

Mills says he recommends spending anywhere from three to five minutes in water temperatures from 42 to 47 degrees for the cold plunge, followed by 15 minutes in the infrared sauna, and close to three to five additional minutes in the cold plunge. For an extended recovery session, he recommends repeating the cycle two to three times.

The Recovery Room, including a cold plunge and infrared sauna, is available to current members and non-members. Ajax Fitness also held a silent auction in support of its partner organization Veterans Expeditions with all proceeds going to veterans with mental health issues.

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