At Hot Tub Covers Canada, members of our team own hot tubs for a variety of reasons. Some appreciate the quiet spot to rest and relax after a day at work. Others take advantage of at-home hydrotherapy. Others still rely on hot tubbing after strenuous exercise.
When we were asked if it is better to soak in a hot tub before or after working out, we decided to investigate. Professional athletes have been touting the benefits of ice baths and hot tubbing after strenuous exercise for years. If it works for the pros, it should work for recreational athletes too.
Does Hot Tubbing After Strenuous Exercise Work?
Ask any hot tub owner about pain relief, and many are quick to point out a soak can sure most aches and pains. However, when it comes to post-athletic pursuits, timing is everything.
For mild and moderate physical activity, your heart rate should return to its average beat. You also need to stop sweating before entering a hot tub. By following these two simple rules, you can lower your pain, help cope with DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness), and improve your range of motion.
For high intensity trainers, triathletes, marathoners or ultra-marathoners, and golfers, you should vary your soaking to maximize the benefits.
Where possible, a quick dip in the hot tub before commencing a workout helps increase blood flow and warms up your muscles. Keep in mind heavy or salty sweaters need to be mindful of their hydration strategy. Take a couple quick sips of liquid while engaging in pre-workout soaking.
“Ice Ice Baby” is your song of choice. Applying ice packs or engaging in an ice bath remains the rule of thumb. Ice (or very cold water) limits blood flow to your muscles, allowing them to recover faster.
Never jump into a hot tub immediately following a high intensity workout. Heat keeps your muscles inflamed. You also run the risk of dehydration due to sustained sweating.
Want to reap the rewards of hot tubbing after strenuous exercise? Wait 36 to 40 hours before entering a hot tub. Enough time will have elapsed to pass the inflammation stage, and your body will be well on its way to repairing damaged muscles. The therapeutic nature of floating or being immersed in hot water will be quickly evident.