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How Baths Improve Sports Performance

How Baths Improve Sports Performance

You may have mastered your workouts and feel like you are finally on the right track with your fitness journey. But are you doing all you can to help your recovery and injury prevention? Bathing in bath salts can help with both.

When you have completed an intense workout, you will often experience sore and aching muscles. This is a sign that you need some recovery and relaxation. When giving your muscles the time to recover, post-workout, you are allowing them the chance to repair themselves before enduring more physical activity.

Rest reduces the risk of muscle damage and injury. As well as improving your performance. Athletes and fitness enthusiasts will often take a day or 2 out of their routine to relax and recover. Adding in extra activities to aid in their recovery, such as a muscle soak bath.

Warm baths are best during rest days

Hydrotherapy is used regularly within physiotherapy and injury rehabilitation. It has been shown time and again to help relieve pain and discomfort from muscles and joints [1].

One of the reasons it’s thought to be so effective is due to the full body immersion in warm water.  

A Japanese bathing study[2] supports this theory, when participants who bathed regularly saw significant improvements in pain compared to those who showered.

There’s often confusion regarding whether ice baths are better than hot baths for sports recovery. Olympic legend Jo Pavey spoke to our friends over at Runners World to help clear up the confusion and clarify the need for both types of bath.

Her advice is to use ice baths directly after an intense exercise session to help with any micro-tears and reduce pain and swelling. (The guidelines for athletes are that the ice-bath needs to be within 2 hours of activity if you want to see results).

Jo then recommends taking warm baths during rest days to help increase circulation and support healing. Jo is a big advocate of using Westlab’s range of muscle soak bath salts during rest day recovery baths. Her personal favourite being the Recover Salts – Epsom Salts with added Arnica and Eucalyptus.


Westlab bath salts for muscle recovery 

The high levels of magnesium found within both Epsom Salts and Magnesium Flakes can help to replenish your body’s magnesium levels, which make them the ultimate muscle recovery bath soak.

Magnesium is an essential mineral for sport, as it aids in muscle relaxation, and helps prevent muscle spasms, cramping and injury.

Magnesium is also essential for ATP, which is the body’s fuel, converting fats and carbohydrates into energy.  Not only does this give us the energy boost we need during our workout or race, but also combats feelings of tiredness and fatigue post-exercise.

Epsom Salts

When to use them:

We recommend using around 2-3 times per week if you’re exercising regularly as part of a complete health and wellbeing routine as these are the ideal bath salts for sore muscles.

How do they work?

As a pure mineral compound of Magnesium Sulphate, Epsom Salts have been used by athletes for decades to aid in their recovery after exercise. The combination of magnesium and sulphate works to relax the muscles, while also helping to flush and detoxify the body. This can help to prevent DOMS (Delayed-onset muscle soreness).

How to use:

Add 2-4 cups of salts to a warm bath and fully immerse for around 20 minutes. Epsom Salts don't have to be used alone, if you want to add some extra luxury to your bath, these can be accompanied by your favourite bath oils, foams and soaks.

Magnesium Flakes

When to use them:

The night before any intense exercise, sporting event or race where there's increased risk of injury. These are the best bath salts for muscles which are going to be working hard the next day.

How do they work?

Magnesium Flakes are made from Magnesium Chloride, which is the most readily absorbed and retained form of transdermal magnesium. These flakes are best for helping to top up Magnesium levels prior to an event, for optimum muscle health and ATP production.

How to use:

Add 2-4 cupful’s to a warm bath of around 40°C and relax for at least 20 minutes. Do this 1-2 hours before bed, as this has been shown to help fall more quickly into a deeper sleep, meaning you’ll wake up feeling well-rested and ready for the day’s activity ahead.

Recover Salts

When to use them:

After an intense exercise session or sporting event. Think of these as your post workout bath salts.

How do they work?

These muscle relaxing bath salts are pure Epsom Salts, with the added benefits of Essential Oils and Arnica. Eucalyptus and White Willow are known for their muscle soothing and pain-relieving qualities, while Arnica is renowned for soothing inflammation.

How to use:

Add 1-2 cups of salts either to your ice bath, or to a warm rest-day bath and fully immerse for around 20 minutes. For an extra magnesium boost you can also add 1-2 cups of pure Epsom Salts or Magnesium Flakes.

Please note - We always recommend speaking with your healthcare provider before using sports recovery bath salts if you have any medical conditions, are pregnant or breastfeeding.

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