Simple effective moves that anyone can do
by Jennifer Pierce, Certified Personal Trainer; NASM, NCCPT
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’s why: Unlike a swimming pool, the heated water in a spa or hot tub automatically increases blood flow and helps release toxins in your body. This creates a healthy foundation for simple movements that can make a big difference in your fitness routine.
You can perform a wide variety of exercises in a spa or hot tub—low-impact moves that promote heart health, weight loss, muscle tone, flexibility, and aid in injury prevention or rehabilitation.
Turn your heated spa or hot tub into an aquatic gym with these 10 Easy Spa & Hot Tub Exercises.
1. Roll your shoulders.
Standing straight in the center of your spa or hot tub, begin your workout with light shoulder rolls, forward and back. With the heat and water resistance, this simple movement can help improve joint mobility and boost circulation to your, neck, torso, and shoulders. Try for three sets of 30 repetitions.
2. Work your core.
In a seated position or gripping the wall with both hands, face inward toward the center of your spa or hot tub. Bring both knees into your chest, then fully extend your legs together. This move focuses on your rectus abdominus (core), so make sure to keep your back straight–no arching, and avoid bringing your shoulders toward your ears, which increases tension in your neck. Perform three sets of 30 repetitions for a killer abdominal burn.
3. Kick your feet.
In a seated position with legs extended toward the center of your spa or hot tub, rotate your legs and feet in and out, bending your knees as if you are pedaling a bicycle. To work your quadriceps and loosen tight hip flexors, you can also straighten, lower, and lift your legs against the resistance of the water. Do either move for three sets of 20 - 30 repetitions.
4. Clap your hands.
In a standing position, submerge your arms under water and extend them out from your sides. With thumbs toward the sky and hands flat, bring your arms in to touch your palms together, and then extend them back out. This simple move works your chest, biceps, triceps, and shoulders together. To isolate your chest and effectively exercise your arms, make sure to keep your shoulders relaxed. Do three sets of 20 - 30 repetitions.
5. Raise your heels.
Standing flat-footed in your spa, raise from your heels onto your toes repeatedly for three sets of 15 - 30 repetitions. This move slims and tones your calves. If you need help staying balanced, contract your core, and place one hand on the wall for support.
6. Cross your arms.
In a standing or seated position with your shoulders under water, extend your arms with your palms facing the floor. Then, with palms still facing downward, move your arms from straight out at your sides to crossed in front of your chest. Repeat this movement to raise your heart rate and activate your front and rear deltoid (shoulder) muscles. Do three sets of 20 - 40 repetitions.
7. Bend your knees.
Standing on one leg in your spa or hot tub, bring one knee to your chest. For a cardio burst, rapidly alternate bending and raising each leg in a high-knees running motion working against the resistance of the water to work your abs and legs. For extra stability, keep both hands on the wall or a flotation device. Do three sets of 30 - 60 repetitions.
8. Twist your torso.
In a sitting or standing position with shoulders submerged, cross your arms across your chest. 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.
9. Sit and stand.
Get your squat on without hurting your knees by supporting this traditional exercise in the low-impact spa or hot tub or spa environment. Tilt your hips back (as if you’re sitting in a chair), and extend your arms for balance. Sit back slowly and pause halfway down, contracting your abdominal muscles and pressing your hips forward as you return to a standing position. To prevent stress on your joints, avoid locking your knees. You can also use a step or sturdy chair for support as you sit back. Do three sets of 15 repetitions.
10. Stretch it out.
The best way to end any workout is with a good stretch. Begin in a standing position, and bend one knee to grab your foot behind you. Pull against the resistance of the water, keeping the bent knee close to your standing leg for a deep quadriceps stretch. For support, feel free to hold onto the wall with one hand. Hold for 30 - 45 seconds, and then switch to the other leg and perform the same movement for 30 - 45 seconds.
Stretch out your back, torso, and shoulders by gripping the wall with both feet flat and bringing your hips back away from your hands toward the center of your spa or hot tub. Flatten your back and contract your core, reaching through your scapula and arms with your face toward the water.
These easy exercises are great ways to improve joint mobility, cardiovascular health, and overall fitness in the controlled, low-impact environment of your spa or hot tub. For a more challenging workout, you can make any movement harder by adding light hand weights or by increasing the number of repetitions for an extended burn.