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From football players to long-distance runners, staying physically fit is a must for every athlete. This means eating a strict diet that consists of only healthy foods, regular and vigorous exercise, and adequate periods of rest and recovery. This last point is worth stressing, as it is often the one many beginning athletes tend to ignore or place on the back burner. It has been found that our bodies grow at their peak during downtime, that is when we sleep and rest.
After being trained, muscles require plenty of rest to restore and grow. You cannot simply workout hours each week and get by on a few hours of sleep each night. If you do, chances are your gains have been minor at best. With that being said, the process of muscle recovery can be enhanced in a few ways. Common sense tells us that it is important to warm up before exercising. Stretching muscles and starting out slow minimizes the shock to the body and prepares it for greater levels of intensity, whether that entails lifting weights, resistance training, or running. The same goes for post-workout activities.
Since most of us live busy lives and do not have the luxury of sitting around after training, the need for facilitated recovery is paramount. Getting at least eight hours of sleep can be a challenge, but it should be considered a top priority for any athlete. An additional method of relaxation can be found in the form of a hot tub session. A heated pool of water with massaging jets is the perfect way to soothe sore muscles and release built-up tension. It can also act as a powerful pain reliever. Anything from a tight back to tender shoulders are well served by a dip in the spa. To keep the water clean and to avoid contracting nasty bacterial infections that could set you back, make sure to buy a spa cover.
Spa treatment for the athlete
- Hot water increases blood flow and circulation; the more blood that is pumped through trained muscles the better, and there is no better way to do this than spending a few minutes in a hot tub. A quick session of about 10-15 minutes will jumpstart the recovery process and take away much of the post-workout discomfort that is commonly felt by athletes. If you are able to do so, even taking a quick dip before exercising will be beneficial, as this will loosen your muscles and assist in the warm-up phase.
- Mental relaxation; physical stress is not the only thing athletes have to contend with. Being nervous and anxious before an event and feeling mentally exhausted afterwards is not uncommon; a spa session can help induce a meditative state that is needed for optimal performance. Many trainers advise their clients to partake in aromatherapy (the use of natural, aromatic chemicals in conjunction with hot tubs) for this reason.
Athletes perform best when their body, mind and soul are in harmony, the University of Maine recognizes this and installed a 20 person hot tub. Hot tubs have been known to inspire such balance and are great for relaxing both physically and mentally.