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Hot tubs can have a lot of health benefits. Soaking in the hot water can ease muscle soreness and loosen stiff, tired joints. Hot tub soaks can also reduce your stress levels, and lowering your stress reduces your risk of all sorts of different diseases. In order to maximize these benefits and reduce risks, though, there are a few guidelines you'll want to follow when using your hot tub.
Test the water daily.
It's really important to maintain the right level of chlorine or bromine in your hot tub. If the concentration of disinfectant gets too low, bacteria will breed in the nice, warm water, and you'll be at risk for infection. if the concentration of disinfectant grows too high, then your skin may become red, inflamed, and irritated after you soak.
You generally want your chlorine level to be between 1 and 3 parts per million. If your tub uses bromine, you want it to be between 3 and 5 parts per million. If the level is too high, wait for some chemicals to evaporate, and then re-test before you use the tub. If the level is too low, add more chemicals and give them a few minutes to dissolve before re-testing and climbing in.
Keep your soaks short.
You might think you want to soak in the hot tub for hours on end, but doing so is actually dangerous. You'll be beyond the point of improving circulation and easing muscle tension, and into the territory of increasing your risk of heart palpitations and high blood pressure. In most cases, you'll want to spend no more than 20 minutes in the tub at a time. If you feel yourself getting too hot before this, then get out of the tub and sip a cool beverage.
Keep the temperature at 100 degrees.
Most hot tubs adjust up to 104 degrees F. However, there's really no reason to crank the temperature up that high. Doing so does not give you any additional health benefits, and it puts you at an increased risk for problems like elevated blood pressure and overheating. Set the thermostat to 100 degrees F, or even a few degrees lower if you don't mind.
As long as you limit your time, keep the chemical levels in the right range, and don't turn the temperature up too high, you should be able to maximize the benefits and minimize the risks of soaking in a hot tub. Enjoy!