Study: Why Hot Tubs Should be Utilized Following Intense Activity Instead of Ice Baths


Often times after runners take part in a race or a marathon, they tend to hop right into an ice bath to relax their muscles. However, a new study says that ice baths shouldn’t be taken and that runners should take a soak in a hot tub instead.

According to The New York Times, the study shows that muscles actually relax better in a warmer environment than a colder one. Therefore, taking an ice bath is essentially pointless. Other than taking ice baths, athletes and those involved in other rigorous activities have been known to take anti-inflammatory medication. However, recent research and studies have found that even taking any anti-inflammatory substances can actually slow muscle recovery and not even help the soreness.

Researchers from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, as well as from other universities, set out to prove that ice baths actually aren’t the solution for tired, overworked muscles. They had five young and fit men and women use an arm pedal machine to push through short but tiring intervals. During other visits to the lab for the test following the initial trial, the subjects were given both cool and warm bands to put over their muscles after their “workout.”

After they had performed the activity, the participants were given fuel in the form of carbs. This gave them the energy back that they needed. The test showed that the power they had to start peddling after the bands had been on was better with the warm band as opposed to the cool band.

The study did prove that muscles recover best after coming in contact with warm water versus sitting in freezing ice. It encourages athletes and those who take part in rigorous activities to hop into a hot tub after their run or intense workout.

About 45% of hot tub owners saythey prefer to take a dip in the water right before bedtime. Now, those owners can use their hot tub for things other than relaxing after a long day or for hosting a gathering. It’s the perfect thing for those looking to cool their muscles down (while warming them up) without potentially damaging them.

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