There’s nothing more relaxing than soaking in a hot tub! We completely understand how it feels when you sink into the warm water after a hard day and you just don’t want to get out. But have you wondered if that’s safe? Can you soak in a hot tub for hours at a time? Just what is the ideal length of time to soak in a hot tub? We’re glad you asked!
Soaking in your hot tub brings so many health benefits, but staying in a spa for too long at one time can be harmful. So, to stay in the sweet zone of hot tub benefits and avoid any potential pitfalls, follow these guidelines when deciding how long to soak in your hot tub.
Some people enjoy soaking in a hot tub with warm water in the 98°F to 100°F range. Others like to crank the heat to the maximum setting of 104°F. For a healthy adult, either of those choices is okay. Just remember this rule: the hotter the water, the shorter the soak.
The main factor is dehydration. Your body cools itself by sweating. However, when the heat around you hits triple digits, it takes a lot more water for your body to sweat enough to maintain your internal temperature. That’s why we always recommend drinking water while you’re in the hot tub. It will help your body perspire to regulate your internal temperature. After a while, the heat will bring your core temperature up anyway, which is why it’s important to keep your soaks to a moderate length.
So, how long can you soak? If the water temperature is between 100°F and 102°F, a 15-30 minute soak is fine for a healthy adult. At 104°F, you’ll want to limit your soak to 15-20 minutes. While there is no hard and fast rule, listen to what your body is telling you. If you begin to feel uncomfortable, it’s time to get out.
Beside the water temperature, there are a few other factors that affect how long you should stay in the hot tub. One of those is your age — particularly for children and elderly people.
Kids are much more sensitive to heat than adults. At 104°F, a young child should be in the water for less than five minutes. You can definitely enjoy a soak with your kids, though. In fact, hot-tubbing as a family is a great way to spend time together! To be safe, simply lower the heat to between 98°F and 102°F and have the kids keep their shoulders and neck out of the water. At that temperature, the Pool and Hot Tub Alliance (formerly the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals) recommends that kids age 12 and under soak in a hot tub for up to 15 minutes at a time.
Elderly people are also more heat sensitive. As a precaution, we advise elderly spa users to start with a shorter soak and/or a cooler water temperature and see how your body responds. If you remain comfortable, next time you can raise the heat or enjoy a longer soak.
Some health issues and medications can affect how heat-sensitive you are and how long you should remain in the hot tub. For example, pregnant women should keep the water temperature to 102°F or less and limit soaks to 10 minutes. Some medical conditions, like heart disease, might require limiting hot tub use or lowering the temperature. To be safe, get your healthcare provider’s advice about hot-tubbing if you have a medical condition.
If you think about it, it makes sense that your internal temperature will rise faster if you’re fully immersed in warm water up to the neck versus if you’re only in water from the waist down. So, if you’d like to enjoy a lengthier soak, you can stay cooler for longer by sitting (for at least part of the time) with your torso out of the water. It’s also a safe practice to have children sit in a seat where they are only partially immersed.
When you follow these guidelines, you can be confident you’ll get all the amazing health benefits of hot-tubbing, without concerns about dehydration or overheating. But, you can’t reap those benefits if you don’t have a hot tub! If that’s you, let us help you change that. Come visit us at our Bally or Sinking Spring location, and we’ll help you find the ideal hot tub for your needs and budget!