Are Hot Showers Bad After a Workout?

We all know how good a hot shower feels after a tough workout. But are hot showers bad for us? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of hot showers post-workout.

Benefits of Hot Showers

Hot showers after a workout can be beneficial in many ways. Physically, they can help you relax and recover, reducing lactic acid and improving blood circulation. Mentally, the hot water can help clear your mind and reduce stress and anxiety. Additionally, hot showers can help with any muscle soreness and provide relief from stiffness and aches. Let’s take a look at the benefits of hot showers more in-depth.

Improved circulation

Regularly taking hot showers can positively affect your circulation. An increase in body temperature can stimulate and enhance blood flow around the body. This increased circulation can help to reduce fatigue and boost energy levels, allowing you to perform activities with a higher level of exertion and for longer periods of time. In addition, improved blood circulation helps to deliver oxygen around the body and to vital organs faster, which can benefit overall health, healing and recovery after physical activity or exercise. Hot showers can therefore serve as an effective way of stimulating blood circulation in those with poor cardiovascular health or individuals injured from physical activity that want to get back in shape quickly.

Relaxation of sore muscles

Taking a hot shower after a workout can be beneficial and provides many advantages to muscle relaxation. When you sweat, you lose water, electrolytes, and impurities from the body. With hot water showers, your pores open up and help in cleaning away dirt and sweat. Hot water bathing helps reduce lactic acid accumulation in muscles after exercise that can cause soreness. Because of its ability to improve blood circulation in the body, hot water showers also help relax sore muscles. In addition to aiding in muscle relaxation, hot showers also increase your metabolism rate and promote weight loss. The combination of warm water and aromatherapy can work wonders for physical as well as psychological comfort after a rigorous workout session.

Improved sleep

A hot shower can help with improved sleep. The hot water helps to loosen up the muscles and increase your core body temperature. This in turn causes the body to become drowsy as it prepares for sleep. Hot showers make it easier to fall asleep, leading to quality rest and improved energy levels during the day. Taking a hot shower shortly before bedtime is also beneficial in that it allows your body enough time to cool down and reach its optimal sleeping temperature prior to settling down for sleep.

Additional benefits of taking a hot shower after an intense workout are increased circulation, reduced stress levels, improved mental clarity, and better overall physical performance. The heat from a hot shower helps your muscles recover faster by increasing blood flow and loosening any tightness or tension that may have built up in your body from exercise. It can also help you relax after an exhausting workout session as it can reduce cortisol levels which is associated with stress-related hormones. In addition, steam from a hot shower can improve breathing due to its humidifying effects, resulting in increased oxygen intake throughout the body which leads to clearer thinking and improved alertness.

Disadvantages of Hot Showers

After a workout, it may feel good to take a hot shower, but there can be downsides to it too. Hot showers can strip your skin of its natural oils and reduce its elasticity, while they can also cause your skin to become dry and itchy. Moreover, hot showers can also reduce the effectiveness of your workout since they can cause your body to cool down too quickly. Let’s dive into the disadvantages of taking hot showers after a workout.


Although a hot shower may seem relaxing and beneficial following an intense workout, it can actually be detrimental to your body. One of the primary disadvantages of a hot shower is dehydration. Hot water causes an increased amount of sweat, which can contribute to dehydration if not coupled with adequate hydration. When you become dehydrated, several key bodily functions are impacted, including respiration, digestion and cognitive functioning. To prevent dehydration following physical activity, make sure to drink plenty of fluids — water is best for re-hydration — before, during and after your workout. Additionally, it is best to opt for a lukewarm or cool shower post-workout to avoid further dehydration that could occur with a hot shower.

Skin irritation

Hot showers can be great for soothing tired muscles after an intense workout, but there are some notable disadvantages. One significant disadvantage of taking a hot shower is skin irritation. High water temperatures can strip away skin’s natural oils, leaving it vulnerable to becoming dry and itchy. For people with sensitive skin this can be a major problem and easily lead to irritation.

It is generally recommended to take a warm shower after exercising and limit the duration to 10-15 minutes maximum. Additionally, those with sensitive skin should use milder soaps or body washes that are designed for gentle care and increased hydration. Coconut or olive-oil-based soaps are especially good for keeping skin moisturized while still allowing you to get clean after a sweaty workout. Keep the water temperature just warm enough to help lull you into relaxation — not quite hot enough that you feel uncomfortable – to avoid irritation and dehydration of the skin.

Increased risk of overheating

While hot showers can provide immediate comfort and a feeling of relaxation, they may also increase the risk of overheating and dehydration if taken too soon after physical activity. As your body temperature rises during exercise, it is important to let it cool gradually and naturally before taking a hot shower. The heat from the water can cause your core temperature to rise too quickly as your body does not have enough time to adjust – this can be particularly dangerous for athletes or those participating in an intense workout. Additionally, it has been shown that an extended period in hot water can lead to skin irritation and dehydration due to increased sweating. To avoid these potential risks, experts recommend waiting an hour before taking a hot shower after working out. Drinking plenty of fluids during exercise reduces the chances of severe de-hydration while allowing you to feel refreshed quickly, instead reaching for a scalding shower straight after finishing your workout.

Alternatives to Hot Showers

Working out can leave your body feeling hot, sore and tired after a good session. And while many people turn to long hot showers as a way to cool down and soothe sore muscles, hot showers may not be the best way to go. Instead, there are several alternatives to hot showers that can help you to cool down and recover after exercise. Let’s explore some of these alternatives.

Cold showers

Cold showers, though not as alluring as a hot shower, can have just as many benefits for your body after a workout. Cold water has a tightening effect on the skin, smooths out your muscle fibers, and helps to reduce inflammation caused by exercise. It can also help to manage your body temperature, especially if you have had a particularly intense workout.

The cold water works by reversing blood flow to the surface of the skin, reducing lost heat and improving overall circulation. Lowering the body temperature this way reduces inflammation and helps with recovery time after a workout. Additionally, cold showers rev-up metabolism due to an increase in brown fat stores in the body helping further with overall recovery and regeneration of tired muscles following exercise.

Showering in colder temperatures also improves mental health benefits—for example mindfulness mediation that comes from facing one’s fears or adapting to uncomfortable conditions may help one gain control over their emotions rather than feeling defeated by them.

Other alternatives include taking cold baths or alternatively for a less-intense option you can opt for warm showers instead of hot ones and add in small bursts of cold water during moments throughout the shower session to help reap the same benefits without having to bear extreme cold temperatures when showering altogether

Epsom salt baths

If you’re looking for an appropriate alternative to hot showers after a workout, try taking an Epsom salt bath. Epsom salt baths are traditionally used to soothe sore muscles, reduce inflammation and promote relaxation. Soaking in warm water with Epsom salt can help provide your body with the rest and relaxation it needs after a strenuous physical activity. You should take an Epsom salt bath after your workout only if it is comfortable for you, as many people find the water temperature too hot to bear after exercising.

The ideal amount of Epsom salt for a standard bathtub should be two to four cups (about 500–1000 g). Fill up the tub with enough warm water that comes up to your waist when you’re sitting in it. Then pour in the Epsom salts and mix into the bathwater until they dissolve completely. Ensure that your skin is exposed to only warm temperatures throughout this process — not overly hot! If desired, you can also add some stimulating essential oils of your choice for a more luxurious bathing experience. Soak for around 15–20 minutes before getting out of the tub and gently towel-drying yourself off. Be sure to drink plenty of water afterward to replenish any fluids lost during your workout session and avoid dehydration caused by sweating profusely.

Ice baths

With the popularity of HIIT and other intensive training, post-workout recovery has become a major component of any athlete’s routine. While hot showers are often cited as a go-to recovery technique, they may not be the best option.

Ice baths, or cold water immersion therapy (CWIT), have become an increasingly popular alternative to hot showers for athletes looking to reduce soreness in their muscles and decrease inflammation after intense activity. Cold water immersion involves submerging yourself fully in icy cold water (39F/4C or below) for anywhere from 20 seconds to several minutes (up to 10 minutes). As uncomfortable as it may sound, research shows that CWIT can effectively reduce both muscle soreness and inflammation, resulting in improved athletic performance over time.

Besides ice baths, alternatives that still provide cold exposure include taking a cool shower with alternating hot-cold cycles or using specialized recovery tools such as compression sleeves or ice packs/towels on specific areas of the body. Additionally, contrast therapy involves alternating between hot and cold compresses on targeted areas; although this offers less direct exposure than CWIT or cool showers, it still produces beneficial effects such as heightened circulation and elevated levels of healing hormones.


After considering all of the evidence, it appears that a hot shower after a workout is not necessarily a bad habit. While it can be uncomfortable, especially in the summer months, post-workout hot showers can be beneficial. They can help with blood flow and muscle recovery, while also helping to relax the muscles. However, it is important to be aware of the potential risks such as dizziness as well as dehydration. Therefore, it is important to bear these risks in mind when deciding whether or not to take a hot shower after your workout.

Summary of benefits and disadvantages

After a workout, taking a hot shower can be beneficial in a variety of ways. It can help reduce muscle tension and relax the mind, as well as aid your body in releasing heat energy and toxins. However, it’s important to be aware of the potential risks associated with hot showers as well. Hot water can cause dehydration or skin conditions if it is too hot or used for too long. Additionally, it’s important to stay hydrated before and after exercising to prevent any long-term ill effects and compensate for the water loss caused by sweating during the workout.

In conclusion, hot showers may provide physical relief after a workout when taken in moderation. However, caution should be taken since excessive heat could impair your performance due to dehydration or other ailments caused by over-exposure to heat. Furthermore, drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day should be practiced even if you don’t plan on having a hot shower post-workout; this will help keep your body hydrated so you get more out of every session.

Recommendations for post-workout showers

At the end of a workout, showering is recommended, as it can help prevent skin infections. However, it is important to keep in mind that extremely hot water can cause some minor issues such as dizziness and borderline dehydration – thus making it beneficial to take cooler showers post workout. It is possible to use warm water while still providing an effective hygiene routine.

Therefore, the best type of shower after a workout should be cool or lukewarm with a slow and steady flow of water. Additionally, avoid using any soaps and hot tubs during a post-workout shower, as this can disrupt the natural healing process and irritate your skin even further.

To ensure your body recuperates optimally after each workout, it is also beneficial to take time for some extra hydration and stretching exercises before your final post-workout stretch. This helps in restoring the energy levels back to normal quickly and aids in long-term muscle recovery.

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