Get Fit in Your Hot Tub

Get Fit in Your Hot Tub

The idea of using a swimming pool to get fit is well-known to pretty much anyone who’s ever heard of swimming. Less well-known, though, is the fact that you can use your hot tub for fitness, too. In fact, a spa’s warm, bubbling water creates the ideal environment to perform a variety of exercises to get fit in your hot tub. You get a low impact workout that’s easier on your joints and prevents injury while still improving muscle tone, flexibility, and promoting weight loss. And, the warmth of the water helps increase blood flow, further enhancing your workout.

Before beginning any exercise program, you should talk to your healthcare provider to determine whether your current fitness level supports your desired activity.

Squats

Squats help you build muscle over your entire body, raising your metabolism so that you burn calories more effectively. However, this exercise really targets your leg muscles, including quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves. In addition, you work your hips and buttocks, making this a great lower body workout.

To perform a squat, stand with your feet shoulder width apart, extend your arms in front of you, and lower your body by contracting your abdominal muscles, as though sitting down. Return to an upright position. Work your way toward completing three sets of 15 repetitions.

Water Cycling

Water cycling also works your legs, hips, and abdomen, and the resistance of the water really helps increase the effectiveness of this simple exercise. Start in a seated position with your legs extended in front of you. Then, just move your legs as though pedaling a bicycle. Work your way toward three sets of 30 repetitions.

Calf Toning

If you’d like better tone and definition on your calves, simply stand flat on the bottom of your hot tub. Then, tighten your core and rise to stand on your toes, holding that position for three seconds before lowering yourself flat again. Your goal is completing three sets of 20 repetitions.

Shoulder Roll

To eliminate the stress and tension that typically grows in the shoulders, perform the shoulder roll. This exercise also helps improve joint mobility and circulation throughout the shoulders, neck, and torso. To perform the shoulder roll, stand straight and slowly roll your shoulders forward and back. Aim to complete three sets of 30 repetitions.

Trunk Twist

The trunk twist helps improve mobility by strengthening your oblique muscles. You may do these seated or standing, so long as your shoulders are submerged. Cross your arms over your chest, relax your shoulders, contract your abdominal muscles, and twist slowly from left to right, back to center, and then from right to left. Exhale on the twist and inhale during the twist back to center. Your goal is three sets of 30 twists.

Clapping

This is an extremely simple move that works muscles throughout your upper body, including chest, shoulders, biceps, and triceps. To perform the exercise, stand with your arms submerged under water. Extend your arms to the side, with your thumbs toward the sky and shoulders relaxed. Then, simply bring your hands together as though clapping, working to complete three sets of 30 repetitions.

Abdominal Workout

To strengthen and tighten your abdominal muscles, sit facing the center of your hot tub. Next, bring both knees to your chest and then extend both legs outward at the same time. Keep your back straight to get the most benefit, and do not allow your shoulders to lift upward toward your ears. Your goal is completing three sets of 30 repetitions.

Wrapping it Up

You may not be able to do the full sets when you first begin, but that’s okay. As your fitness levels increase, you may want to add more reps or more sets. You may even add light hand weights when you’re ready for a greater challenge.

Stretching before and after your workout helps prevent injury and muscle soreness. It’s even easier in the warm water of a hot tub.

If you want to make sure the water in your hot tub is always ready for a workout, consider pHin. It constantly monitors your water and tells your smartphone what you need to do to keep the water in your pool and hot tub healthy. Use it with your own chemicals for flexibility or get our single-dose, pre-measured chemicals delivered to your door. If you need someone to service your equipment, Pool Service on Demand connects you to local, qualified pool techs.

Jumping From Hot Tub to Swimming Pool: Is it Good or Bad for You?

Jumping From Hot Tub to Swimming Pool: Is it Good or Bad for You? Just about everyone who has both a hot tub and a swimming pool has decided to follow a long soak in the tub by a dip in the pool (or vice versa).

Some may do it because the hot tub gets too hot, while others may do it to make their pool water feel a little bit cooler. But a question arises for many when it comes to moving from hot to cold in such a manner: is it safe?

When practiced properly, immersion between hot and cold water (commonly referred to as contrast bath therapy) is perfectly safe. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when deciding whether contrast bath therapy is right for you.

Before we begin, let’s address the elephant in the room: your pool and hot tub water should both be perfectly balanced before you step foot in either one. The best way to know that your water is balanced is by using a pHin smart water monitor that continuously monitors your pool and hot tub water and lets you know when it’s time to add chemicals.

Now, onto contrast therapy:

Benefits of Moving Between Hot and Cold Water

One of the main benefits associated with contrast bath therapy is improved circulation. Hot water causes vasodilation (relaxation of blood vessels), while cold water causes vasoconstriction (narrowing of blood vessels), which increases local blood circulation.

In addition to improving circulation, contrast bath therapy can act much like a pump for the lymph system. Similar to blood vessels, lymph vessels relax in response to heat and contract in response to cold. Alternating between hot and cold can act as a makeshift pump for your lymph system, having a positive impact on the inflammation process, and helping your body heal damaged tissue.

Contrast therapy can also reduce muscle tightness and soreness, helping to prevent strained or pulled muscles. It is important to note that this process should always end with you in the colder water, as heat can induce the body’s inflammatory response.

When to Practice Contrast Therapy

There are certain times that contrast therapy has been found to be more effective or offer more pronounced benefits. In the morning (or whenever you wake up), it can jump-start your body, kicking circulation into gear and prepping you for the day ahead. Many people find that they are more alert when they start their day with contrast bath therapy.

It can also be beneficial before exercise, as it typically increases your muscle temperature and heart rate, leaving you less prone to strain and injury. If you find yourself experiencing any muscle injuries or tightness, contrast bath therapy can help with that as well.

In addition to being physically beneficial, it has also proved to have positive effects on the mind, as contrast therapy can decrease stress levels.

When Not to Practice Contrast Therapy

While contrast therapy provides many benefits, it is important to realize that there are certain circumstances in which you should avoid the practice.

First, if you have serious health issues, you should consult with your doctor before practicing any type of therapy, including hot and cold immersion. This is especially true if you have health problems involving the circulatory system, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, or kidney problems. Your body may lack the ability to react well to the rapidly changing temperatures inherent in contrast therapy.

For any injuries that are swollen or bruised, you should avoid contrast therapy for at least 72 hours following the injury. Hot water often makes injuries involving swelling or bruising worse, as it typically causes greater swelling. Finally, never practice contrast therapy at any time during pregnancy, due to the extreme and rapid temperature changes.

To keep the water in your pool or hot tub balanced year-round, consider a pHin smart monitor. This device constantly monitors your water and automatically sends you exactly what you need to keep the water in your pool and hot tub balanced and healthy. 

The Sleep Benefits of Hydrotherapy

If you’ve ever owned a hot tub, you’ve most likely experienced the soothing effect warm water can have on aching joints and muscles. You even may know some of the science behind hydrotherapy: how the heat of the water can improve circulation and lower blood pressure while the extra buoyancy takes the weight off strained joints. But most people haven’t even heard about one of the most amazing benefits that using a hot tub can give: improved sleep.

Lack of sleep has been linked to innumerable negative effects. People who suffer from sleep deprivation are: more likely to cause accidents while driving, struggle with weight gain, have difficulty concentrating, and be more irritable. Given that 50 to 70 million American adults suffer from some kind of sleep disorder according to the CDC, improving your nightly rest should be an important concern.

A Ready Solution

Luckily enough, the answer might be waiting in your own back yard. The National Sleep Foundation states that, “Soaking in hot water, such as a hot tub or bath, before retiring to bed can ease the transition into a deeper sleep.” Here’s the science behind it: soaking in hot water approximately 90 minutes before going to bed triggers your body’s internal thermostat to lower your temperature. The gradual drop in body temperature can induce drowsiness, leaving you more prepared for sleep. You can further encourage that feeling of sleepiness by turning down the thermostat (but not too much!). The NSF recommends keeping your bedroom between 60 and 67 degrees F, while also ensuring your room is free from noise and other disturbances.

The increased blood flow in the rest of your body caused by the warm water will also divert some blood from the head, which reduces brain activity and settles your busy mind.

Most people who have difficulty sleeping turn to their doctor or pharmacist for sleep-assisting medication. But these drugs come with their own side-effects and costs, and can leave you feeling groggy and disoriented in the morning. A quick soak in your hot tub before bedtime can be a good alternative to achieving a restful sleep without the use of medication.

Hot tub temperature should be set to no higher than 104 degrees F, as going to bed while still hot or sweaty may contribute to overheating. Consume plenty of water before soaking, as hot water can accelerate dehydration. But be careful, as too much right before bed will encourage more middle-of-the-night bathroom visits. As with regular hot tub use, users who are pregnant or have certain medical conditions such as diabetes should consult with a medical professional before using a hot tub.

Additional Benefits

Besides providing that helpful drop in body temperature, soaking in your hot tub before bed can also bring other benefits. Your hot tub’s jets can relieve muscle stiffness and pain. Try targeting your jets to specific painful areas, such as your neck or lower back. The sudden temperature shift can also stimulate your body’s production of endorphins, which are natural pain-killing hormones. The combined relaxing effects of hydrotherapy continue after you exit the tub, resulting in a deeper and longer-lasting sleep.

Adding essential oils to the hot tub water can also encourage further relaxation. Lavender is an especially good choice, as some studies suggest it has sleep-inducing effects, but jasmine and chamomile are also relaxing. Five to 10 drops of these soothing scents should suffice for smaller hot tubs designed for one to two people. If you don’t feel comfortable adding oils directly into the hot tub’s water, adding a few drops of essential oils to a nearby soy or beeswax candle can be a great alternative.

The National Sleep Foundation states recommends that you should establish a routine:

“A regular, relaxing bedtime routine such as soaking in a hot bath or hot tub and then reading a book or listening to soothing music. A relaxing, routine activity right before bedtime conducted away from bright lights helps separate your sleep time from activities that can cause excitement, stress or anxiety which can make it more difficult to fall asleep, get sound and deep sleep or remain asleep.”

Summing it Up

Mankind has known for centuries about water’s relaxing properties (think of the ancient Romans and their baths). The benefits of using your hot tub for hydrotherapy are numerous, so here’s a list summing them up. Hot tubs have been shown to:

  • Improve circulation by causing your blood vessels to expand, which lowers your blood pressure. A mere five minutes in a hot tub can cause your blood pressure and heart rate to drop.
  • Relax stiff muscles and increase flexibility.
  • Ease aching pain in overworked joints.
  • Stimulate the body’s production of endorphins (natural pain killing hormones).
  • Lower your internal temperature, encouraging relaxation and drowsiness.

All of this combines to give you a deeper and more restful sleep. Given that sleep is one of the most basic needs next to eating and breathing, it’s important to take it seriously. Studies show that people who get more sleep are often healthier and happier individuals.

So tonight, do your body a favour. Stay away from electronic screens, eat a smaller meal, skip the alcohol, and take a good long soak in your tub before hitting the sack. Your body will thank you, and so will your future self when you wake up refreshed the next morning. 

Be sure to check out the pHin device, a new way to care for your hot tub. pHin monitors water quality, notifies you by smartphone when you need to add chemicals and ships you just the right amounts.