Is a Hot Tub Good After a Workout?

Spending time in a hot tub is excellent for promoting relaxation, relieving stress and clearing the mind.  It can also be a great place to socialize with family and friends.  Furthermore, hot tubs can be used by athletes to improve their performance and speed up their recovery times.  And although hot tubs are well known for their ability to soothe sore muscles, is a hot tub good after a workout?  In this article, we concentrate on the use of hot tubs by athletes to answer this question and more.

A Hot Tub Warm Up

Although it might not be common knowledge, using a hot tub can provide the same benefits to an athlete that are experienced with a warm-up routine.  A pregame or training session warm-up is performed to increase the blood flow, limber up the muscles and expand the range of motion in preparation for the main event.  The fact is that a session in a hot tub will also accomplish these same goals.  This isn’t to suggest that merely sitting in a hot tub for a few minutes should replace a warm-up routine but doing some exercises in a hot tub can get your body where it needs to be quicker than doing them outside in the cold.  If you have access to a hot tub, try to incorporate it into a warm-up routine and find out if it works for you.

Post-Game Cool Down

It might be tempting to think that jumping into a hot tub directly after a big game or a heavy workout session would soothe the muscles and prevent inflammation.  However, this is exactly the opposite of what you should do after intense physical effort.  It’s important to properly cool down your body after physical exertion.  Going straight into a hot tub isn’t going to allow this to happen. 

Muscle use causes them to become inflamed and warm water will only exacerbate this process.  On top of that, your workout will cause your body temperature to increase and your blood vessels to dilate.  By submerging yourself into warm water in this state you make yourself prone to heat stroke or even a heart attack.  A proper cool-down routine should consist of some walking, stretching and light cardio combined with drinking water and possibly having a cool shower. 

A Hot Tub for Muscle Relief

It’s actually best to wait for a day or two after an intense workout to use the hot tub.  Only then will the increased blood circulation actually provide relief to your muscles.  Not only will your muscles benefit from the increased blood flow, but your range of motion and flexibility will also be increased.  The buoyancy provided by the water will also take the pressure off your joints and bones.

Hot Tub Temperature and Use

In the late 1970s, the Consumer Products Safety Commission reported that hot tub temperatures over 104 degrees Fahrenheit could cause heat exhaustion in users.  For that reason, you’ll rarely find a hot tub in the United States that will go over this temperature without some sort of modification.  However, the onus lies on you to monitor the temperature yourself by using a thermometer.  As for using the hot tub, you should limit your sessions to less than 20 minutes.  Longer than that could result in overheating and further complications.  Pay attention to how you feel when you’re in the hot tub.  If you start to feel light-headed or dizzy, experience heart palpitations or feel nauseous, exit the tub immediately.

Now that you know the recommendations for using a hot tub after working out, download a free hot tub buyer’s guide to find out more about the benefits of hot tubs.