With the Rio Olympics in full swing you may be inspired to take up a sport and get more exercise. Whether you’re getting more active for health, for competition or just for fun, relaxing in a hot tub after an exercise session can be a valuable addition to your routine. Many professional athletes use hot tubs and spas after a strenuous training session to soothe aching muscles and joints. We here at Blue Lagoon Spas seem to be the supplier of choice for prominent sports stars with Premiership footballers and Test cricketers among our customers.
Whatever sport or type of exercise you’re doing it’s likely to involve working muscles and joints hard, and they often ache afterwards. If you push yourself too hard you can end up straining muscles and ligaments, meaning you may have to take time off from training in order to recover. This can be a big problem as in order to consistently improve performance in most cases you need to train regularly. Relaxing in a hot tub after exercise helps muscles to recover more quickly, so that they are fit and healthy for the next session. The warmth of the water causes increased blood flow (and therefore increased oxygen) to the affected areas, while the buoyancy of the water and massage of the water jets can reduce tension in the muscles.
Hot tubs can also have an important part to play in the treatment of sports injuries such as sprains. In particular the application of heat to the injury can improve the rate of healing. This is known as thermotherapy. Recovering from injury occurs in three phases, and a hot tub can be very helpful in the second and third phases.
The first phase of injury recovery is known as the inflammatory phase, damage to the ligaments, tendons and muscles, as well as damage to the blood vessels in the injured area causes fluid build-up and swelling. In this phase the recommendation is for cryotherapy – the application of cooling ice packs – in order to reduce the build-up of fluid and reduce the swelling. This phase typically lasts for a day or two after an injury.
The second phase of healing, the proliferation phase, is when new tissue begins to grow and scar tissue forms. This phase can last for several weeks. This is when hot tubs can be particularly helpful. Application of heat has several benefits which can aid the healing process. Circulation and blood flow are improved, muscle spasms reduced, and the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the area is increased. The muscles and tendons become more relaxed and stretch more easily, and the warm water can have an analgesic effect, reducing the pain of the injury.
The third phase of healing, the remodelling phase, involves the re-grown tissue from phase two maturing and getting stronger. This can be a long process, anywhere up to a year for some injury types, and again, regular sessions in a hot tub can help with this process.
It’s clear then that hot tubs and spas can have a valuable part to play in sports training and therapy. A hot tub can help prevent injuries from occurring by soothing tired muscles and tendons after hard training, and help recovery from injuries if they do occur.