Is It Bad to Soak in a Hot Tub Before Exercise?

It is accepted that warming up before performing any type of exercise is recommended and beneficial for your body. While there is some controversy within the scientific community as to whether or not warming up improves athletic performance, there are certain benefits which are agreed upon. A warm-up prepares your body to partake in physical activity by increasing the blood flow to the muscles, improves oxygen intake and increases the core body temperature. Warm-ups are also helpful in preventing injuries and soreness as cold muscles are more likely to tear or cramp.

Many people are familiar with what is referred to as an active warm-up, which involves moving and stretching your body to increase your heart rate and loosen muscles. Not as well known is a passive warm-up, which involves using a steam bath, hot shower or hot tub. Sitting in a hot tub before your workout can help prepare your body for exercise. The warm water loosens and relaxes muscles so that they become limber before you begin your workout. The end result is the same - your heart rate increases and your core temperature rises, warming your muscles.

Active vs Passive Warm-Ups - Which is Better?

Based on multiple different research studies, the results are mixed as to whether an active or passive warm-up is better for your body. Some of the results also vary depending on what type of exercise will be performed as well as the length of the workout. Fortunately, hot tubs provide an ideal solution as you are able to combine both an active (stretch, walk or jog on the spot) and passive warm up to prepare your body for physical exertion.

Using a Hot Tub to Warm Up

With a hot tub, the guesswork is eliminated out of your warm-up routine. It is the perfect opportunity to both mentally and physically prepare for your work out by soaking for up to 15 minutes prior to getting started. In fact, it is a common practice amongst professional athletes to take a soak in a hot tub before competing.

In addition to warming up your muscles, hot tubs provide a serene environment which can help you visualize and prepare for your workout goals. Whether you want to achieve a new weightlifting level or run a faster mile, taking a few moments to focus on your goal and visualize yourself successfully completing them helps to prepare your mind and body.

As the water in the hot tub passively raises your body temperature and warms your muscles, you can begin to stretch your muscles without risking an injury that can occur if they are cold. The water buoyancy helps to support your body, enabling you to easily perform stretches and movements which may be more difficult on land.

Another benefit of using a hot tub to warm up is that you will begin to sweat from your raised body temperature, helping you to burn even more calories when you work out.

Post-Workout

It is recommended to wait 24-48 hours after exercising to soak again in your hot tub. Because your muscles are inflamed and you may already be dehydrated, the warm water can further dehydrate your body and delay your muscle recovery process. Skipping the hot tub for a day post-workout will allow your muscles the proper amount of time to stabilize and recover from inflammation. After this waiting period has passed, a soak is beneficial as the hot water will increase blood flow to your muscles, helping to repair.

Hot tubs are a wonderful tool to help support your workout routine and keep your muscles agile. Using a hot tub to warm up before you work out will not only help you feel better but is safe and will help you lose more weight.

About the Author

Scott Bland has been in the leisure industry for nearly 20 years.  As a sales manager in the leisure industry he knows hot tubs inside and out.  Right now he works sales while writing about consumer goods on the side.  If you want to contact him, you can do so at his LinkedIn.

 

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