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The Health Benefits of Hot Tub Cardio Exercise

When most people think of hot tubs, they envision spending time in the hot water as a way to reduce stress. But did you know that hot tubs and swim spas are a great way to do cardio workouts and improve your health?

It's true! There are numerous benefits to a warm water cardio workout. Here are some of the most impressive ones we've seen:

According to the American Heart Association, if you work out for 30-60 minutes a day 3-4 days a week, you will reduce your risk of diabetes, stroke, and heart disease.

You can lower your cholesterol and blood pressure by swimming. Swim spas are a great way to accomplish this.

Dr. Bruce Becker, director of the National Aquatic & Sports Medicine Institute at Washington State University says immersion in hot water is good for the heart.

So how can you use this type of spa therapy to improve circulation and your overall cardio health? Cardio workouts raise your heart rate and makes your breathing heavier, so any type of exercise that accomplishes that is considered cardio.

Hot Tub Cardio for All Fitness Levels

If you're ready to begin, here's a three-step hot tut exercise program you can do to improve your cardio health.

1. Start Small: Sitting Hot Tub Cardo Exercises

When beginning a cardio health improvement plan, it's smart to start small and work your way up. And don't forget to check with your doctor before starting any cardio workout. Here are three great sitting cardio exercises you can do in a hot tub:

  • Leg raises - Sit on the hot tub seat and hold on to the rails or sides of the tub. Then slowly lift both legs at once until they are extended straight out in front of you. Continue to raise them and lower them until your heart rate increases. If you want to increase the difficulty level, add ankle weights to your legs.
  • Scissor kicks - Get in the same positon you used for leg raises, but instead of raising your legs together, move them in and out sideways like a pair of scissors. If this is too tough on your knees, do the next exercise instead.
  • Bicycle kicks - This exercise is easier on your knees, but will give you the same cardio benefits. Starting in the same sitting position, move your legs in a circular motion like you would when riding a bicycle.
2. Up Your Effort: Standing Hot Tub Cardio Exercises

It's time to step up your game with some standing cardio. Just like the sitting exercises, these will raise your heart rate and give you a good cardio workout.

  • Calf raises - Start by standing in the middle of your spa and holding onto the walls if necessary to keep your balance. Raise up on your toes and then lower your feet to the ground.
  • Water lunges - Lunges tone your backside, and when you do them in water, they are just as effective, but easier on your knees. Start by standing in the middle of your hot tub or swim spa and tilt your hips back as if you're about to sit down in a chair. Now extend your arms out in front of you for balance. Slowly lower your torso until you're about halfway down and then stand up straight again.
  • Hot tub yoga - You've probably heard of hot yoga, but have you heard of hot tub yoga? There are 5-6 asanas -- or poses -- that work well in hot tubs, and popular YouTube host Dashama is great at demonstrating them.
3. Go All Out: Swim Spa Cardio Workouts

Once you've mastered the first two steps of the process, it's time to stretch your cardio wings with a swim spa, which is a lap pool that can be heated just like a standard hot tub. Here are some of the cardio exercises you can do in a swim spa.

  • Swim laps - Swim spas were invented to allow people to swim laps in a small pool, and that makes a hot tub swim spa the perfect place for this great cardio workout. Because you can adjust the speed and water currents, you can design a swim cardio workout to best suit your needs.
  • Jog in place - To increase the intensity of your session, lift your knees as high as you can, or consider running the spa's jets while you jog.
  • Step-ups - Use the entrance step to the swim spa and alternate stepping onto it with your left and right feet.

Water cardio workouts are a great way to get in shape, and if you have a hot tub or swim spa, you already own all the equipment you need!

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