Thanks to our loves of heels, women already suffer from more foot and leg injuries than men, according the Georgia Podiatric Medical Association, and sports injuries take longer to rehab than a simple sprained ankle. Whenever you have an injury requiring rehabilitation, time in a hot tub will help speed up the healing process. How does 101-degree water affect your body?
All the healing that your body will ever do, whether it is recovering from a broken nail or rehabbing a broken kneecap, comes at the hand of your circulation system, as the calcium needed to regrow bone and the proteins necessary for muscle regeneration flow to body parts with every beat of your heart. The American Heart Association reports that hot tubs cause vasodilation, meaning that the blood vessels open and allow for a larger quantity of blood to flow with each heartbeat. With more blood flowing to the affected areas of your body, you speed up the healing process for every minute that you spend in a hot tub.
A sports injury that affects a muscle group can cause cramping and straining if not rehabilitated. Hot water activity helps to relax muscle groups and ease up on stiffness or pressure on everything from your hamstrings to your jaw muscles. The Arthritis Foundation even recommends aquatic rehabilitation programs that can help extend your muscles’ range of motion with the added buoyancy effect of water. This type of rehab can even be used as training to develop better muscular endurance and flexibility.
Keeping Tubs Clean
Though you can speed up your rehab status with a number of hot tub workouts or just by soaking for a few minutes, it’s important to keep your tub in good condition to avoid potential hazards. Use the proper hot tub chemicals to test for bacteria, pH, calcium and filter strength, and always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for cleanliness. Remember that an infection from an dirty tub can set your timeline for recovery back.
A Good Night’s Rest
A final benefit of hot tubs comes well after you’ve dried yourself off. A study at the McKee Medical Center in Colorado found that soaking in water heated up to 103 degrees at least one hour prior to bedtime will help you overcome insomnia and get a better night’s sleep. Sleep cycles affect your recovery from a sports injury in several ways. A good night’s sleep will help to balance your motor skills and keep you from losing balance, as well as to minimize stress and increase concentration as you go through your day. Those REM cycles prove so vital that the Center for Disease Control suggests that sleep loss represents an epidemic in the US, with some 40 million Americans suffering from too little.