Spending time in a hot tub can be a relaxing experience as you let the warm water wash over you and the jets massage away the stress of the day.
But did you know they can offer a unique workout experience as well?
Hot tubs have made exercise more accessible than ever. They provide a gentle way for people to have a quality workout while offering their body the support it needs to reduce the impact experienced during traditional exercise.
Aquatic exercise has been popular for years among the older generations, but it has also been used for rehabilitation programs, giving people with mobility issues or long-term injuries a way to rebuild their strength in a safe and gentle environment.
Exercising in a hot tub has created a different fitness experience, which has brought its own set of benefits you can’t find in a typical gym.
Top 6 Benefits of Hot Tub Exercises
Studies have shown that spending just 20 minutes relaxing in a hot tub has been shown to have a significant impact on the body’s metabolism, blood pressure, and inflammation.
When you exercise in a hot tub, you can capitalize on these changes and experience a range of benefits to support you inside and outside the water. Here are some of the most beneficial effects you can experience by working out in your hot tub.
1. Burn More Calories
A study done by researchers at Loughborough University discovered that one hour in a hot tub burned the same amount of calories as a 30-minute walk. Combine that with exercise while in your hot tub, and you’ll significantly increase the number of calories you burn.
Working out in hot water makes your heart beat faster, forcing your body to work harder as it tries to bring your temperature back to its regular resting state. This increases the amount of energy your body uses throughout the length of your workout, helping you burn more calories in a shorter amount of time.
2. Better Mobility
Spending time in warm water helps to loosen the muscles in the body and can give you a better range of motion and more flexibility.
This lets you go deeper into each move while still maintaining proper form. You’ll have a more effective workout while minimizing the risk of injury. This is especially helpful for those with mobility issues or people recovering from an injury. The warm water will help promote healing while loosening the muscles and reducing inflammation surrounding the affected muscles and joints.
3. Less Inflammation
Spending time in a hot tub naturally helps combat inflammation in the body from the heat dilating the blood vessels and allowing your blood to move more easily throughout the body. This allows your body to flush out toxins and reduce inflammation caused by any fluid buildup.
Exercising in your hot tub can also reduce the inflammation you experience after a workout. The buoyancy of the water helps your body move more easily through each move and reduces the impact your body experiences compared to when you do the exercise outside the water.
4. Reduces Pain
The reduced inflammation and better mobility that exercising in a hot tub can provide is a big part of why your pain will be reduced, both during and after your workouts.
However, hydrotherapy’s effects are the main reason you’ll experience a change in your pain. Hydrotherapy is the use of water to treat and support the body. When this is done with warm water and combined with hydromassage through the jets, you’ll be treating your pain in a gentle, effective way that will have long-term effects.
5. Joint Protection
The buoyancy your body experiences when underwater removes the pressure your joints are under throughout the day.
When you workout in a hot tub, you can complete lower-impact workouts and protect your joints by removing the weight they would experience when doing those exercises in a traditional gym.
Post-workout, this allows your joints to rest and recover as the constant stress they are under is lifted away, and they can move more freely, reducing inflammation and promoting recovery.
6. Faster Recovery Time
Exercising in a hot tub will give you a more effective workout while minimizing the time it takes for your body to recover. This is largely due to the warm water treating your body throughout the workout.
As you move through each exercise, the warm water promotes better blood flow, which helps oxygenate the body more effectively. This helps your muscles work better and heal faster.
This increased circulation also helps your body target the areas that need support the most, such as any muscle currently being used. It gives you a better workout and builds strength with less stiffness afterward.
Top 10 Hot Tub Exercises
Exercising in your hot tub is easy. There is a variety of low-impact hot tub exercises that, when combined, can create a powerful full-body workout.
Here are ten of the best hot tub exercises you can do in your hot tub today.
1. Flutter Kicks
Flutter kicks are a great lower-body workout that also targets your lower abs.
- Hold yourself up on the edge of one of the hot tub seats for this move, then lift your legs and kick up and down.
- You can do this with your upper body leaned back.
- If you want a more intense burn, try doing it with your upper body upright, making a 90-degree angle with your body.
Squats are a favorite exercise among the fitness community.
Adding them to your hot tub exercise routine is easy, giving you a quality lower-body workout in just a few minutes.
- Simply stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, and sit your hips back.
- You can use the hot tub seats to help with this movement, sitting back until you’re hovering over one of the seats.
- Make sure you don’t actually sit on the seat, or you’ll release the tension your muscles are under.
- Then, simply stand back up and do it again.
- Try doing 10-15 squats, aiming for three sets.
- If you want to target your inner thighs more, you can do this move with a wider stance, pointing your feet at an outward angle.
Hot tubs are a great place to work on your upper body strength. The water helps support you, protecting your shoulders and keeping your body in proper form.
The different levels of elevation in your hot tub make it easy for you to create a more or less difficult push-up, giving you a way to personalize how hard you want this hot tub exercise to be.
- Place your hands on the edge of the hot tub, and while flexing your stomach to maintain proper posture, move your body towards your hands as far as you can.
- Then, push yourself back up.
- Where you place your hands will greatly affect the muscles you’re working and how difficult the move will be, so experiment.
- Try placing your hands below your shoulders for a close push-up that targets your triceps or just outside your shoulders to target your upper back and chest.
4. Tricep Dips
Tricep dips are a popular bodyweight exercise.
- Hold onto the edge of a hot tub seat for this move, with your knees bent at a comfortable angle in front of you.
- You’ll want your body hovering just in front of the seat.
- Slowly lower your body using your triceps to hold your weight.
- Then, push yourself back up to your starting position.
Be careful not to put the weight on your shoulders or to lean forward during this hot tub exercise. To make this more or less difficult, try adjusting how far your feet are from your body. This will change the amount of weight you’re placing on your triceps.
5. Russian Twists
This hot tub exercise targets your entire abdomen, and you’ll feel the burn immediately.
- Sit on the edge of your hot tub seat with your back straight.
- Then lift your legs up off the ground. How high you lift them will depend on your strength and how difficult you want this workout to be.
- While holding your legs up, move both your arms to touch the right side of your hot tub, then move them to both touch the left side.
- Do this as often as possible, aiming for 2 sets of 15 twists each.
6. Reverse Crunches
Reverse crunches are another powerful hot tub exercise for your abs.
- For this move, sit on the edge of your seat, and extend your legs straight in front of you.
- Then, pull them back in towards your chest in a crunch movement, using your abs to pull them inwards.
- Release and move your legs straight forward again.
- Repeat this 10-15 times.
- To make this move even more difficult, hold your hands beside your head and balance your body on the seat as you pull your chest and knees towards one another at the same time.
7. Calf Raises
This move will help you strengthen the muscles in your calves while building stability in your ankles. Over time, this stability will help you maintain better posture and have better balance throughout your workouts.
- Start by standing in your hot tub. Then, using only the power in your calves and ankles, raise your body until your heels are lifted off the ground, and all your weight is on the balls of your feet. Slowly lower yourself back down. Complete this move ten times.
To strengthen different areas of your ankles, change the position of your feet, angling them inward, outward, and forward.
8. Bicycle Kicks
Bicycle kicks can target your abs or become a full-body workout depending on how you do them.
- Rest the back of your forearms on the seat of your hot tub, and lean back onto them.
- Then, lift your legs, and move them as if you were pushing the pedals of a bike.
- To make this hot tub exercise a full-body workout, hold yourself up on the edge of the seat while performing this motion.
9. Arm Circles
If you’re looking for a way to strengthen your shoulders while increasing your range of motion, this hot tub exercise is one of the best ways to do it.
- While standing or kneeling in the water, rest your hands at your sides.
- Then, slowly lift them in front of you out of the water, and move them in a big circle, lifting them above your head and then back down to your sides.
- Try doing this move ten times before switching to the opposite direction.
If you do this hot tub exercise while kneeling in the water, your arms will be fighting the resistance of the water throughout most of the move, making it a more difficult exercise.
Hot tubs are a great place to flow through a yoga practice. The heat of the water will loosen your muscles while supporting your body, helping you go deeper into each pose.
You’ll strengthen your muscles from the added resistance as you move from one pose to the next through the water. This will help you get a more effective workout, gain flexibility, build muscle, and burn additional calories.
Post Workout Recovery
What you do after a workout is equally as important as the exercises themselves.
Your body works hard during a workout and will need time to recover afterward. Here are three essential steps to take after you’re done with your hot tub workout.
Hydration is important for any post-workout recovery. However, when you work out in a hot tub, you sweat more than you would during a traditional session. This can cause you to become dehydrated if you’re not drinking enough water to replace what your body is sweating out.
Make sure you have a water bottle nearby, taking occasional drinks throughout your workout. Following your workout, ensure you drink lots of water to avoid dehydration. If you begin to feel dizzy during or after your workout, get out of the hot tub and rehydrate in a cool space.
Stretching will help release the tightened muscles from the exercises while also helping release the lactic acid your muscles produced during your workout. Gently stretching each muscle group you worked will help release the tension they’re feeling and help keep you from getting sore the next day.
Stretching also helps promote healing in the muscles following a workout, and when done in warm water, helps the blood reach the areas that need it most.
Having a full body massage following a workout is the perfect way to recover. Lean back, turn on your jets and feel your muscles release as they relax under the gentle pressure of the jets.
Having your muscles massaged after a workout helps stimulate your lymphatic system, helping any fluids in your body move more effectively, removing toxins, and helping the body recover.
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