Athletes undergo extensive training, whether it’s for a marathon, a team sport, or a personal fitness challenge. That hard training takes a toll on your body, so it’s crucial to support your overall health and recovery with a healthy diet, plenty of sleep, massage therapy, and regular hydrotherapy treatments in your home hot tub.
To avoid injuries from causing setbacks in your training, you should plan for your recovery as seriously as you plan your workouts. Here are the benefits of hot tubs for athletes when it comes to training and recovery.
Inflammation is extremely harmful to your body — it can damage joints, arteries, and organs. Chronic inflammation that is left untreated can have serious long-term consequences such as:
- Heart disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
Inflammation is also part of the body’s natural healing process (such as after vigorous physical activity), but it must be treated and kept at bay. Soaking in your hot tub after a workout is a great way to reduce inflammation, and regular soaks can be preventative against inflammation as well. Gentle, low-impact exercises and stretches in your hot tub — what’s referred to as “active recovery” — also helps reduce inflammation.
Reduce Soreness & Stiffness
If you’re working out regularly — and especially if you’re doing intense workouts — soreness and stiffness is to be expected. Soreness and stiffness can manifest itself in many different ways:
- Neck and back pain
- Muscle pulls
- Muscle spasms
- General soreness
Low-impact stretching and exercises in your hot tub can promote active recovery to minimize post-workout stiffness, but just relaxing and enjoying the warm waters and massaging jets will also do the trick.
Help Injuries Heal Faster
The heated waters of a hot tub help your blood vessels to dilate, increasing circulation, which in turn aides in a more speedy recovery. The improved blood flow throughout your body delivers oxygen and white blood cells to your organs, muscles, and skin as well as boosting your immune system.
Soaking in a hot tub before and/or after a workout also helps reduce your risk of incurring an injury in the first place.
Note: Use ice/cold to treat injuries or pain before using heat to heal, including swelling or inflammation (such as a swollen ankle or knee). The cold will reduce blood flow to the area, reducing swelling and pain.
Improve Quality of Sleep
Plenty of quality sleep is always good for your health, but it’s especially needed if you’re doing athletic training because that’s when your body recovers and repairs itself. Quality sleep simply refers to how well you are sleeping. It generally means you’re falling asleep within 30 minutes of laying down and sleeping soundly through the night.
If you’re getting a lot of physical activity or working out later in the day, you may find falling asleep more difficult. Soaking in a hot tub an hour before bed has been shown to help people fall asleep more easily and promote quality sleep.
The hot tub experts at Cal Spas of Minnesota are always ready to answer any questions you have about hot tub spas — call or visit either of our two Minnesota locations!