Swimming is a great form of exercise. It burns a lot of calories and is extremely good for people with arthritis, recovering from an injury or those who have problems with knees and joints. However, did you realize that a spa or hot tub can also be a great place to exercise? Not only does the warm bubbly water create relaxation, it increases blood flow and helps to release toxins from your body. People often associate swimming pools with exercise, while thinking of spas and hot tubs as places for relaxation. However, the warm, bubbling environment of a whirlpool offers unique advantages to enhance your health and fitness.
Here are a few hot tub exercises to get you started:
Stretch: It’s best to start and end any workout by stretching. Begin by gripping the wall, keep both feet flat, straighten your back and lower your between your shoulders to stretch your back, torso and shoulders. You can also deepen your stance by moving one leg farther back behind the other and stretch your calves. You can also roll your shoulders from front to back to increase mobility and warm up your body.
Legs & hips: In a seated position, extend your legs forward toward the center of the hot tub. Do a circle with each leg, then raise and lower your legs one at a time to work your quads and hip flexors. You can also do circles with your ankles and finish with a cycling motion as if you were on a bicycle.
While you’re still in a seated position, place your feet firmly on the floor. Then begin to raise your heels until you’re resting on the ball of your foot. This will help stretch your calves. Then stand up and while holding onto a railing or the side of the spa, do the same exercise. As you progress, try doing this exercise without holding onto anything in order to help build your core.
Torso: In either a sitting or standing position cross your arms across your chest. Contract your abdominals and twist from left to right. Focus on your range of motion and notice how you stretch and work out your oblique muscles.
Now contract your abdominal muscles and twist slowly from left to right, and right to left. Exhale as you twist, and inhale as you return to center. Keep your shoulders relaxed, and focus on increasing your range of motion as you work deep into your oblique muscles. Do three sets of 20 – 30 twists.
Arms & back: While seated, make sure your arms are submerged in the water. Raise your arms shoulder high with elbows bent. Using the natural resistance of the water stretch your arms forward in front of you followed by pulling them back while squeezing the area between your shoulder blades.
CORE: Alternate sitting and then standing without using your arms to push yourself up. This activity is low impact but will help strengthen your abdominal muscles and hips.
As with any exercise program, it’s best to consult a doctor before beginning to ensure that you’re healthy enough. Exercise has so many health benefits and for those requiring a lower impact form, a swimming pool or hot tub is a perfect alternative.