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Is Soaking in a Hot Tub Good for Recovery? What Your Wyoming Physical Therapy Team Wants You to Know

April 22, 2021

After a particularly grueling workout, you can expect one thing once the endorphins wear off: sore muscles. Those sore muscles can make being active the next day far less appealing. If you’re like most people, you’re probably tempted to soak off that soreness in a hot tub. After all, even serious athletes soak away the tension, right? But is soaking in a hot tub after an intense workout really in your best interest and can it help you speed up your recovery when used in conjunction with your physical therapy treatment? Here’s what you need to know.

Soaking Is Good for Your Muscles
The rumors are true. Soaking in a hot tub can help you reduce soreness and speed up your recovery from a particularly challenging training session. But you need to use the hot tub in the right way to see the results you’re looking for. 

Cool Down Before You Get In
The best way to use a hot tub as a recovery tool is to cool down after your workout completely. This means you shouldn’t ever hop right in as soon as you’re done with your training session. Instead, wait until your core body temperature is closer to normal and your heart rate is slower. 

Most athletes need to cool down for at least 10 minutes before they’re ready to soak. As a general rule, if you still feel hot and are still trying to catch your breath, you’re not ready to soak. Wait until you’re cooler and then hop in the hot tub.

Keep a Water Bottle Handy

Any exercise and recovery routine that makes you sweat puts you at risk of getting dehydrated. You need to replenish after you’re done exercising, but you can’t stop hydrating just because you’re soaking. You need to keep a water bottle handy while you’re in the hot tub. Sip on water the entire time and continue to do so once you’re done soaking. This will give your body the tools it needs to recover faster.

Don’t Forget to Stretch Afterward

Soaking is great but it’s not the only thing you need to do to recover after a tough workout. You still need to stretch out your major muscle groups. But do this after you soak for best results. The heat from the hot tub will loosen your muscles and make them more flexible so you can get deeper stretches and a more complete range of motion with each movement. 

If you’ve been going through a physical therapy treatment, this is the perfect time to run through some of those stretches and exercises your therapist recommends. You’ll get more out of them in the long run.

Soaking Is a Useful Tool

Soaking in a hot tub is a useful tool that you can and should use when you’re trying to recover after a tough workout. Just make sure you’re using it the right way and stay hydrated while you’re in the hot water. That said, using a hot tub is not a substitute for physical therapy. If you’re dealing with an ongoing injury, contact our team to schedule a consultation today.