Is a Hot Tub Good After a Workout?
Spending time in a hot tub can be relaxing, stress alleviating and a welcoming relief for sore, tired and aching muscles. Therefore it would seem to make intuitive sense that jumping in the hot tub after strenuous exercise would be a great way to finish your workout. But is a hot tub good after a workout? Read more to learn about the benefits and dangers of post-workout hot tubbing.
A Hot Tub for Sore Muscles
There’s no doubt that a hot tub session can relax your muscles, relieve pain and soothe aches and soreness. The warm water and massaging jets of the hot tub increase blood circulation and drive more oxygen to the muscles and joints. This can help relieve cramps, tightness, and knots that can result in pain. The buoyancy provided by the water can also relieve pressure on your joints which can reduce inflammation and subsequent pain.
Body Temperature After A Workout
It’s important to remember that before you jump into a hot tub after a strenuous workout that you need to fully cool down first. High-intensity workouts or sporting activities will cause your core body temperature to increase. Your blood vessels will be dilated, and your heart will be working faster. If you submerge yourself in hot water before your body has had a chance to fully cool down, you risk overheating which could result in dizziness, nausea, heat stroke or even a heart attack. For this reason, it’s imperative that you go through a full cool down routine before you get in the hot tub.
Post-Workout Cool Down
It’s best not enter a hot tub for at least an hour after a heavy workout session. This will allow your body to return to normal temperature levels and save your system from going into overdrive trying to cool itself. Having a post-workout cool down routine of stretching, walking and light cardio will allow your heart rate to regulate itself, your blood flow to normalize and your breathing rate to return to normal. Consider taking a cool shower and rehydrate yourself by drinking water or a sports drink. It’s even been recommended that you wait a day or two to hit the hot tub after an intense workout to allow your muscles to recover from any inflammation.
Time and Water Temperature
After your cooldown, you should also make note of the temperature of the hot tub and the amount of time you plan to spend in it. According to the US Consumer Products Safety Commission, hot tub water temperatures shouldn’t go above 40 degrees Celsius or there could be a risk of heat stroke. Most hot tubs won’t go above that temperature anyway, but it’s a good idea to make sure by using a thermometer. You should also limit your time in the hot tub to less than 20 minutes per session. Pay attention to your body and if you start to feel lightheaded, dizzy or experience heart palpitations or nausea, get out of the water.
Using A Hot Tub Before Your Workout
A novel approach to using a hot tub as part of your workout routine is to use it as part of your warm-ups. A short hot tub session before exercise will increase your blood circulation, relax and loosen muscles, promote flexibility and increase your range of motion. The benefits of a pre-workout hot tub session are even more pronounced when it’s cold outside as the warm water will loosen constricted blood vessels.