I know what you're thinking - this is a swimming blog, why are we talking about hot tubs?! It turns out swimmers can reap quite a few mental and physical rewards from the occasional hot tub dip.
1. Better sleep
Like we talked about in our comprehensive guide to better sleep, warming your body up to the correct temperature before bed can dramatically improve your quality of sleep. Of course, you don't want to go to bed sweating, but if you're comfortably warm you will find yourself falling asleep faster and sleeping through the night with fewer interruptions.
Better sleep means increased mental sharpness, a stronger immune system, well-rested muscles, and an efficient immune system, so don't underestimate the importance of an evening dip!
2. Reduced stress and anxiety
Studies have shown that hopping in the hot tub can significantly improve your overall mental and physical wellness. The sounds and sensation of the massaging jets combined with the weightlessness of the hot water lull you into a state of serious relaxation, decreasing both your physical and mental stress.
This relaxed state, the warm water, and the vascular dilation also reduce your frequency and severity of migraines and tension headaches.
3. Lowered blood pressure and blood sugar
Weirdly enough, the hot water in the tub stimulates your body into thinking it's exercising! In a study published by the New England Journal of Medicine, individuals saw their blood glucose fall from 182 mg/dl to 159 mg/dl after being in a hot tub for 30 minutes a day 6 days a week. Working out without actually working out sounds like a pretty good deal to me!
Further, your heart rate will accelerate as your body tries to regulate its temperature in the hot water. This increases your blood flow which in turn increases your oxygen supply and rejuvenates your cells.
4. Better respiratory health
This benefit is probably the simplest and most obvious: Things can get pretty steamy in a hot tub, and the steam opens the breathing passages in your sinuses and lungs.
5. Less chronic pain
The buoyancy of the swirling and bubbling water can relieve anything from basic aches to arthritis, tendonitis, and carpal tunnel. The warm water also decreases tension in your body and improves your flexibility.
What do you think about giving your body a break and "training" in the tub? Let me know by sounding off in the comments or on Twitter at @ZoneTwitter!