With winter months bringing the usual bouts of flu and other illnesses, you may think that using the hot tub in the cold is not the best idea. But believe it or not, using the hot tub in the winter has health benefits that can prevent or help heal a winter cold, aid in purifying your skin, and reduce muscle aches and pains.
The air may be cold, but the water set at the suggested temperature between 102 and 104 degrees Fahrenheit is actually far cozier than sitting in a chilly house, even under blankets.
The key health benefits of using a hot tub in the winter (and practically anytime) are:
- Stress relief: Soaking in a spa hot tub can be soothing, recuperative, and key factor in helping to relax. In fact, your blood pressure decreases every time you sit in a hot tub.
- Clearer Skin: With heat, the pores of your face will open up and unclog leading to clearer skin, but the benefits go further than just your face. “Heat therapy” can assist in purification of acne, eczema, psoriasis, wrinkles, or even burns.
- Muscle Recovery: Warm water can increase circulation, thus helping to heal muscles that need to recover. When soaking in a hot tub (especially one with warm jets), circulation is increased — which allows the blood to supply nutrients that help cells and tissues regenerate.
- Aches and Pains: Using the hot tub in the cold to soak has therapeutic benefits and can help relieve arthritis, neck, and back pain.
You can also stay energy-efficient while using the hot tub in the winter by turning off the breaker that runs the heater and protects the electrical switches. Every hot tub has a circulation pump that runs 24 hours a day, and heats up cold water using much less energy than if the heater was running. Once the water reaches 75 degrees, you can turn the heater back on to heat the water up to the recommended temperature of just under 104 degrees.
You can also run the jets with the cover of the hot tub closed while the spa is heating. The heat from the pumps can warm up the water using much less energy as well.
Using the hot tub in the winter can reduce the amount of illnesses you catch, as long as you keep up good hygiene and sanitation measures, and keep your water at the correct temperature. When hot-tubbing it, be sure to check the water balance/cleanliness, keep temperatures raised, soak often (but not more than 30 minutes at a time), and stay hydrated.
1. Improves sleep
Have you ever noticed how quickly you tend to fall asleep after taking a late night bath or a dip in the hot tub?
When your body is cold, your normal sleeping pattern can be disturbed. When your body is comfortably warm, you tend to fall asleep quicker and rest through the night with fewer disruptions.
It is widely accepted that getting quality, REM sleep has a multitude of positive effects on just about everything – from your mood to your mental alertness and even the way your body metabolizes food.
To improve your chances of getting a good night’s sleep, try spending some time in the hot tub before getting into bed.
2. Reduces stress and anxiety
Along with making you feel temporarily relaxed, studies show that the combination of the hot water, the massage of the jets, and the feeling of weightlessness can significantly reduce both mental and physical stress and decrease anxiety.
Experts note that when you’re not feeling physically and mentally stressed, you’re less likely scowl at neighborhood teenagers, which means you’re less likely to get teepee’d in the middle of the night.
Don’t get teepee’d – get in the hot tub!
3. Reduces arthritic and chronic pain
For people suffering from skeletal ailments such as arthritis, carpal tunnel, tendonitis, and other types of bodily aches and pains, spending time in the hot tub will typically provide some much-needed relief.
Due to the buoyancy from the bubbles created by the tub’s jets, we feel our own weight disappear, our blood circulation increases with the heat, the tightness in our muscles relaxes, and inflammation in our sensitive joints is reduced.
In this state, an aching body can experience heightened flexibility, strength, and a wider range of physical motion. It’s no wonder so many people see significant benefits from hydrotherapy when recovering from back, knee, or other joint problems.
4. Lowers blood sugar
While further studies are still recommended, initial research indicates that spending time in the hot tub may actually lower the blood sugar level of people suffering from type 2 diabetes.
In one study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, subjects with type 2 diabetes spent a half hour, six days per week for three weeks submerged to the shoulder in a hot tub. By the end of the three weeks, the subjects saw an average drop in blood glucose (BG) levels from 182 mg/dl to 159 mg/dl.
Essentially, the hot temperatures in the tub simulate some of the effects of physical exercise – which has proven to be an effective form of treatment for sufferers of type 2 diabetes.
5. Lowers blood pressure
In addition to lowering levels of your blood sugar, relaxing in the hot tub can also lower your blood pressure.
When you get in the tub and the temperature is hot, your heart works harder and faster so that your body can disperse excess heat. In the process, your increased blood flow is producing extra oxygen and your cells are being revitalized. While there may be an initial uptick in blood pressure, your increased warmth will cause cells to dilate, decreasing resistance against the heart and lowering your overall blood pressure.
It should be noted that those with high blood pressure should avoid going back and forth between the hot tub and the pool, as this may increase blood pressure.
6. Promotes Healthier, Younger Looking Skin
If you’re pondering ways to get your skin looking its best, soaking in the hot tub might not be the first strategy that comes to mind – unless it’s a hot tub filled with Neutrogena.
[NOTE: Do not soak in hot tubs filled with Neutrogena]
What you may not have considered is that some of the effects of using the hot tub have a direct influence on the health and appearance of your skin.
As mentioned above, regular use of a hot tub has shown to lower levels of stress and anxiety. Stress and anxiety are leading causes of premature aging, which means the hot tub can be a tool to help combat premature aging.
Furthermore, when you’re experiencing increased circulation in the hot tub, that means your blood is more efficiently delivering vital oxygen and nutrients to your skin – giving you a healthy, youthful glow.
7. Decreases Frequency of Migraines and Tension Headaches
When you suffer from chronic headaches, like migraines, there simply aren’t a ton of treatment options, so relief is a hard thing to come by. Fortunately, there is some evidence to suggest that regular dips in the hot tub may in fact help to prevent certain types of headaches.
How can sitting in a hot tub possibly help with headaches? Well, consider some of the more common triggers of headache, like tension.
Migraine sufferers often report experience tension headaches right before the migraine. In the hot tub, you’re muscles aren’t contracted, your aches and pains subside, and you feel overall more relaxed – thus decreasing the chance of experience a tension-triggered migraine.
Also, sufferers of sinus and cluster headaches experience episodes when they’re stuffed up; spending time in the steamy hot tub – along with using nose drops and drinking fluids – is a good way to fight congestion and prevent these types of headaches.
The Health Benefits of Soaking in a Hot Tub Infographic
Hot tubs not only provide an excellent way to relax with your friends and family, but it is also beneficial to your health. That’s right!
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