Hot Tub or Cold Tub: Which Is Best for Recovery?

Hot Tub or Cold Tub: Which Is Best for Recovery?

Hot Tub or Cold Tub: Which Is Best for Recovery?

Hot Tub or Cold Tub: Which Is Best for Recovery?

Muscle soreness is a common issue for athletes. After an active day, runners, linebackers, cheerleaders, and wrestlers all suffer from sore muscles. No matter the sport you play, ensuring your muscles recover can help you move and perform better.

Hot and cold tub therapy are recovery options that help after an intense workout. You can get relief from muscle damage, soreness, and inflammation. Understanding which of the two options is best is ideal.

Hot Tubs

The challenging part of a workout is always the start. Taking care of yourself before starting the exercise combats muscle stiffness and soreness. Hot tub immersions help warm up your muscles before a workout. You can spend up to 15 minutes soaking in a hot tub before embarking on your workout routine.

Hot tubs also serve as a recovery tool for improved rest and muscle relaxation. You can unwind in one after an intense workout.

Benefits of a Hot Tub Therapy

Below are the advantages of using a hot tub:

  • Stress relief – Warm water has a soothing and massaging effect. As a result, it relieves emotional, mental, and physical stress. 

  • Muscle relaxation – Hot water soothes tight and tensed muscles. It also eases pain and aches. You can reduce your risk of injury before exercising.

  • Pain relief – Hot tub therapy relaxes your joints, tendons, and tensed muscles. The water takes the weight off the joints by supporting your body. As a result, you gain improved flexibility and a range of motion.

  • Better cardiovascular health – Hot water baths increase your heart rate. By doing so, your blood pressure lowers. 

Cold Tubs

Cold-water immersions are ideal for athletes. A cold tub soak is not as comfortable as a hot tub’s, but the benefits are worth the chills. Professional athletes have been using ice baths for a long time. Most training rooms have tabs meant for cold-water immersions.

Ice baths or cold-water immersion is a form of cryotherapy. Athletes sit in chilled water for some time after a significant workout. Immersing yourself in chilled water does the following:

  • Works to facilitate your recovery.

  • Works to decrease your soreness.

  • Reduces your risk of getting an injury in your next workout.

How Does Your Body Respond to a Cold Tub? 

After an intense workout, your body has elevated temperature, muscular stress, and cardiovascular demand. Tension in your muscles causes inflammation that triggers an immune response. As a result, your blood vessels begin to dilate and send an invasion of immune cells to the stress areas. This whole process repairs injured tissue. However, too much of it causes pain and swelling.

Immersing your body in cold water cools down the many groups of muscles in your body all at the same time. Swelling and muscle damage reduce by decreasing metabolic activity and constricting your blood vessels. Cold tub therapy also reduces hypothermia and the strain from cardiovascular action. 

After the cold stimulus, fresh blood returns to your body as you begin to warm yourself. As a result, your cells flood with oxygen and nutrients that flush out the waste products from tissue breakdown. Your fatigue also clears after a cold tub.

Which Is Better for Recovery Between a Hot Tub and a Cold Tub?

The psychological effects of a cold tub and hot tub differ. However, cold tub therapy works best when it comes to recovery. Cold constricts blood vessels. As a result, you experience a reduction in the start of delayed onset of muscle soreness (DOMS). 

Hot baths are not what you need for recovery immediately after an intense workout. The heat dilates your blood vessels and promotes blood flow to your muscles. After the acute pain recedes, a hot tub can help you heal by increasing circulation.

For more about tubs for recovery, visit Athlete Recovery Lounge by Sports Performance and Spine at our office in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. You can also call 412.723.2735 to book an appointment today.

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