After a long day at work, you may prefer soaking in a hot tub to pounding the pavement or sweating in a smelly gym. But you know exercise is important. Do you choose spa therapy indulgence to improve your health, reduce stress, or tone your form? Fortunately, you can have the best of both worlds by exercising in your hot tub.
A hot tub provides an ideal environment for gentle, low-impact exercise thanks to the buoyancy of water. Hot water helps improve your range of motion and increases your muscles’ ability to stretch and relax. To improve circulation, tone muscles, rehabilitate from injuries, and assist weight loss, try these seven great hot tub exercises in your backyard workout routine:
Hot Tub Workout Supplies
Have a few things on hand to keep you from spending time hopping in and out of the hot tub for supplies. These tools help you burn through the calories:
- Water bottle. Exercising under heated conditions means that hydration is more important than usual. Drink plenty of water during and after your workout.
- Water weights. Waterproof weights—either strapped on or handheld--enable resistance work to tone your muscles.
- Kickboard. A kickboard provides support while in the water, allowing you to focus on your legs or core. Kickboards also offer support to those recovering from injury.
- Bluetooth speaker. A waterproof Bluetooth speaker allows you to set the mood for your workout with some energizing tunes.
1. Stretch Your Muscles
Hot tubs provide warmth and therapeutic jets, both helpful in unkinking tight muscles. Before you begin your hot tub workout routine, try some gentle stretches to get your muscles ready for action. Stand in the center of the tub and prop one leg at a time on the seat of the tub, leaning forward for a hamstring stretch. Then pull your heel back towards your glutes to stretch your quads. Shrug your shoulders and alternate grasping each elbow behind your head to get your arms loose.
2. Cardio Warm-up
Simply immersing yourself in the warm water will raise your heart rate. To get your blood pumping more, walk slowly in place or within the perimeter of your hot tub. Gradually pick up the pace, aiming for an underwater jog. Alternate underwater jogging with treading water for 30 second sprints. Throw in sets of 50 jumping jacks for a splash of fun.
3. Upper Body Weight Training
Stand in the center of your hot tub and place your palms on the outer edge of the shell, leaning your body forward at an angle. From this position, hold this modified “plank” for 30 seconds or raise and lower your taut body to perform underwater pushups. Even if you’ve never been able to perform a pushup on land, water’s buoyancy should help you achieve pushup success in water.
Try biceps and triceps curls with waterproof weights. Practice your swim strokes in a stationary position to improve your form and achieve resistance training at the same time. For extra resistance, use waterproof wrist weights.
4. Lower Body Weight Training
Stand in the center of your hot tub, and squat backwards, until you’ve almost touched down on the hot tub’s seat. But don’t sit down—no cheating! Continue rising and squatting, in sets of 10, until the burn in your legs tells you they’ve had enough.
Strap on underwater ankle weights and sit down, letting the jet pound your back while you pedal your legs in a bicycling motion. Enjoy the most soothing weight training you’ve ever experienced while gently exercising joints and muscles.
5. Core Toning
Stand on a kickboard, and tuck your knees up toward your chest, keeping the kickboard under your feet. Push the kickboard back down without letting it slip to the top of the water.
Hold the kickboard with both hands. Use your abs to twist your upper body, pushing the kickboard against the current on your right and then on your left before returning to center.
If you’re recovering from injury, are pregnant, suffer from arthritis pain, or have high blood pressure, be sure to run your hot tub workout routine by your doctor for approval. You may need to modify some exercises or lower the heat to a safe level for your physical condition.
6. Cardio Intensive
Deep-water running provides a low-impact, cardio-intensive exercise. Run against the current of jets, pulling your knees up high towards your chest. Or run with your knees pointing downward and your heels coming up high, kicking your buttocks. For added intensity, run while holding water weights.
7. Cool Down
Your cool down should repeat your warm up cardio and stretches, gradually slowing your pace until your heart rate returns to normal. Slowly walk inside the perimeter of your hot tub before moving into stretching.
Stretch all of the sore muscles you worked during your exercise routine, and focus on loosening areas of muscle tension by rolling your shoulders and neck gently until they feel relaxed. End your workout routine by sitting back against the hot tub’s soothing jets and enjoying the well-deserved hot tub hydrotherapy indulgence.