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Hot Tub After Workout: Good Idea or Bad Idea?

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I’ve researched this subject after a friend asked me, “do you think using a hot tub after a workout is a good idea?”

I asked a few doctors and did some digging online. And I’ve easily come to the conclusion that soaking in a hot tub after a workout is a BAD IDEA.

Hot Tub After Workout

Ok, So Why Soaking After a Workout a Bad Idea?

When you workout, your heart is working hard to pump blood to your extremities to help cool them down. When you’re in a hot tub, it makes it impossible for your body to cool itself, thus making your heart work even harder — which could cause problems.

You should allow your body to cool down naturally after a workout. That means waiting at least a half hour before jumping into the hot tub, allowing your body to cool down properly.

It would be a GOOD IDEA to keep the upper half of your body out of the water to shed some excess heat, and don’t soak for too long. I would limit yourself to 10 minutes max.

Hot tubs can dehydrate you too, and after a workout, your body will likely be very dehydrated. So once you’ve waited for your body to cool down, use this time to hydrate. That means, drinking plenty of water after a workout and before getting in the hot tub.

What if you pull a muscle? You might think it’s a good idea to soothe the pain in your hot tub, but that’s a bad idea too. The heat of the hot tub will increase blood flow to the pain, causing it to swell. According to the University of Rochester Medical Center

…apply ice as soon as possible. After about 48 hours, the swelling should diminish. That’s the time to use the whirlpool—but switch off between the whirlpool and an ice pack. Soaking in a whirlpool encourages a range of motion and muscle relaxation; applying ice reduces inflammation.

I know this might not be what you wanted to read. Soaking in a hot tub after a workout seems like such a good idea, and in time it will be. Just allow a cool down period after your workout before jumping in to relax. Also, you want to avoid drinking alcohol too. I have written a post all about drinking in hot tubs that I think you should read before cracking open that beer or sipping that Merlot.

Happy Soaking!

(Photo provided by Caldera Spas)

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Last Updated: Tuesday, October 29th, 2013