Think Twice Before You Ice (Sore Muscles)
An ice pack will numb your pain after the first set, but it could lead to unforced errors when the match resumes. A review published in the journal Sports Medicine found that topical cooling decreases strength, speed, power, and agility during athletics for up to 40 minutes. "Icing slows down the rate of nerve transmission, which is why it relieves discomfort," says study author Chris M. Bleakley. "But that also stalls your brain's messages to your muscles, which can diminish performance." To maintain MVP status in any sport, limit your chill time to no more than 10 minutes (the longer the stint, the greater the chance of impairment) and warm up again before returning to the game.