Does Hot Water Immersion Work?

Can Hot Water Immersion After Exercise Improve Endurance Performance And Heat Acclimation?

We’ve all heard about cold water immersion/baths after exercise but what about hot water immersion? Can it provide any benefits to endurance athletes?

  • A recent study suggests it can. For 6 consecutive days, researchers had trained subjects do a 40-minute treadmill run (65% VO2 Max) in temperate conditions (66 degrees) followed immediately by 40 minutes of hot water immersion at 104 degrees (think of a hot tub).
  • Before and after the intervention, hallmark heat acclimation adaptations were assessed during a 40-min treadmill run at 65% VO2 max in the heat (90 degrees, 40% relative humidity).
  • The 6 day, post-exercise hot water immersion intervention induced heat acclimation adaptations (reduced skin and rectal temperature and the onset of sweating) in both endurance trained and recreationally active individuals.
Take home point...these findings demonstrate that post-exercise hot water immersion presents a practical strategy to reduce thermal strain during exercise-heat-stress in endurance-trained and recreationally active individuals

Link to full study here