• Fit for Fall – Hot Tub Exercise Guide

    Fit for Fall – Hot Tub Exercise Guide

    Before you let your Summer exercise routine fizzle out in favour of cold weather hibernation, remember that you’ll feel like you’re back to square one when the weather warms up again if you do so. Thankfully, a hot tub is the best way to stay warm for Fall while maintaining your fitness! Because it’s low-impact and easily tailored to your fitness level, anyone can benefit from water exercise, regardless of age or agility. So check out these four calisthenic exercises that you can do in your tub and let the swirling water both soothe and challenge your muscles.

     

    Toe Pushes

    To strengthen: calf muscles

    Push your toes against the floor of your Beachcomber to flex your calves. Begin by holding the position for a few seconds and repeat 3-5 times. At your own pace, you can work your way up to holding the position for 10-15 seconds.

     

    Bicycle Kicks

    To strengthen: abdominals and legs

    Position yourself firmly perched on the edge of your hot tub seat and hold onto the nearby ledge for support. Lift both of your legs out of the water and cycle rapidly as if you were riding an invisible bicycle. Begin with three sets of bicycle kicks for approximately 30 seconds each. As you increase core strength and cardiovascular endurance, you can up the number of sets that you do.

     

    Arm Criss Cross

    To strengthen: forearms and core

    Sit up straight in your seat with your abdominals engaged to assist with balance. Hold both arms out straight in front of you with your palms facing downwards. Quickly cross your arms over one another, alternating which one goes on top of the other. Do three sets for roughly 30 seconds each, and increase over time as you build strength. To further intensify this exercise, consider trying it with small dumbbells as well.

     

    Side Leg Extensions

    To strengthen: legs and abdominals/obliques

    Sit back deeply in your seat and stabilize yourself with surrounding ledges if you need extra support. Stretch your legs out in front of you, take a couple deep belly breaths, and slowly spread them as far apart as is comfortable yet challenging. Keep your core tight and hold the position for 30 seconds, repeating for 3-5 sets.

     

    Since your hot tub is a place of soothing comfort, you might feel skeptical about the intensity of your workout in it, but research shows otherwise. The resistance of the water makes your workout stimulating despite the context fooling you into thinking that it feels easier than if you were running on pavement. In fact, the water challenges muscles that are more difficult to engage on land.

    Also, because water lessens the effects of gravity, you’re able to move your joints through a wider range of motion, which improves flexibility. And even your lungs benefit, because the water pressure makes them work harder than they would on land. But don’t take our word for it – try these exercises out for yourself!

     

  • Adding a Hot Tub Soak to Your Outdoor Cardio Routine

    Adding a Hot Tub Soak to Your Outdoor Cardio Routine

    With the arrival of warm weather, the great outdoors may be beckoning to you, with promises of making your workout routine more interesting. If you’ve spent the winter running on a treadmill, however, there will certainly be some adjustment for your body when you attack the trails, with muscle soreness almost guaranteed.

    By incorporating a hot tub into your outdoor routine, you can maximize the benefits of hydrotherapy to ease your transition to outdoor cardio. There is often some debate around when the ideal time to soak is (before an outdoor run, shortly afterwards, or with a delay). What you ultimately decide works best for you will come down to personal preference, but there are some general guidelines to observe to stay safe.

    Consider these tips when incorporating hot tub soaking into your cardio routine:

     

    Soak Before. A short pre-exercise hot tub soak can make the run more pleasant, especially on a cold day, because it increases blood flow to your legs. Remember that you’ve already started sweating when you soak, and be sure keep hydrated.

    Soak Immediately after. This is the time to play it cool. Applying ice or cold water is the best move, as this will limit blood flow to the inflamed muscles so they’ll feel better fast. Heat would keep them inflamed, and continued sweating would keep you dehydrated.

    Soak 36-48 Hours Later. You’ll get maximum benefits from the hot tub by soaking 36 to 48 hours after an intense outdoor cardio session (soaking sooner is fine after shorter runs). By then, the inflammation is subsiding and the increased blood flow will stimulate healing for your damaged muscles. Plus, it’s a great reward for your racing success.

    Not only can your hot tub serve double duty as your warm up and post-workout relaxation space, but you can bring your workout into the water as well! For anyone with joint pain or sports injuries, combining therapeutic exercises with the soothing heat and buoyancy of the water can reap great rewards.

    Back and Leg Lifts

    Strengthening your legs and hips can help to improve balance, add support to your back muscles, and decrease the risk of injury during outdoor runs. Stand up in your hot tub, using the walls or lip of the tub for support, and extend your leg outward and to the side. Loosen up your hips by bringing your knees up one at a time, as close to your chest as you can, then lower and extend them behind you. Repeat each exercise in sets of 3, with 10 to 15 repetitions to start, building in number and frequency as you grow stronger.

    Aerobics

    You can also add an aerobic, cardio-focused component to your hot tub workout with bicycle kicks, alternating this with your more intense outdoor runs. Sit in the hot tub with your legs toward the center, hold the edge of the seat with both hands, and elevate your legs, keeping them in the water. Make a pedaling motion as if you’re riding a bicycle. Pedal for 30 seconds, alternating speeds for a better workout, then take a break and repeat as desired.

    Remember: Soak, run, ice, soak later. You’ll be warmed up, you’ll run at your prime, you’ll cool down in the safest way, and you’ll look forward to a blissful recovery in your Beachcomber!

     

  • 5 Simple Tricks to Stay Fit

    5 Simple Tricks to Stay Fit

    It seems there is never enough time to fit all that you’d like to do into a day. But scanning headlines to get your current events isn’t the only time saving hack available. If the minimum recommended amount of exercise (30 minutes, five days a week) seems tricky to nail down, realize that it doesn’t have to be done consecutively! In fact, incorporating short 10-minute bouts or “mini workouts,” among your regular activities, might even be more effective than a sustained session, according to a study from Arizona State University.

     

    Check out these five ways to seamlessly fit exercise into your busy day.

     

    1.  Meetings on the move

    Don’t think that a lunchtime spin class is the only way to incorporate some exercise into your work day. If your days are long and chock full of meetings, consider taking those meetings outside. If no visual aids or presentations are required, you can have the discussion en route to/from the closest coffee shop instead. Even doing laps around the building while you strategize can be an effective use of time.

    2.  Turn your errands into exercise

    The mall is a great place to quickly cover lots of ground, and accumulate your 10-minute exercise bout in no time! Make sure to park far away, so the parking lot trek can count toward your steps. If you have appointments located close enough together that you can walk, plan accordingly and leave the car at home (enjoy the added bonus of not needing to hunt for parking!) And when faced with an escalator, ALWAYS take the stairs.

    3.  Commercial break crunches

    Kick the couch potato time up a notch by doing a short circuit of callisthenics such as lunges, push-ups, and crunches for full-body toning, during commercial breaks. If streaming your shows commercial free, you can do this during the slow parts instead, or make your own timed breaks.

    4.  Socialize outside

    Exercising lightly while catching up with a friend makes the activity more enjoyable, plus is an efficient use of time. Swap your next post-work cocktails for a stroll in the park with coffees. Your liver will thank you, you’ll get your steps in, and you’ll likely sleep more soundly. It’s a win-win all around.

    5.  Meditate before bed

    If meditation seems impossible – and it is much harder than you might think to silence your thoughts! – you can light some candles and try some easy yoga stretches to calm your body and mind before bed. And for the ultimate relaxation experience, slip into the hot tub right afterwards to drain the stress of the day and ease any muscle tension.

  • Springtime Exercise and Soothing Sore Muscles

    Springtime Exercise and Soothing Sore Muscles

    This time of year usually involves a familiar pattern: winter hibernation gives way to a suddenly sunny spring, and you find yourself trying to make quick progress on your fitness goals for the summer. As you ramp up your workouts and take advantage of more opportunities for outdoor exercise, don’t forget about the second half of the equation – rehabilitating your sore muscles in the wake of all your increased activity.

    As you plan for and track your body’s cycles of stress and recovery through exercise, strategic hot tub soaking can enhance your workouts and your progress towards a healthier body and lifestyle.

    Check out the following Do’s and Don’ts before you make your spring fitness master plan!

     

    What to Do?

    • Consider soaking in your hot tub for 10-20 minutes before your workout, to loosen up your muscles before exertion. Soaking both before and after any high intensity activity can help prevent injury.

     

    • Plan accordingly to incorporate rest and recovery phases into your workout schedule. It’s best to alternate heat and cold therapy (soaking in your hot tub vs. occasional cold showers) to promote healing.

     

    • Be careful to wait until your heart rate has slowed down and your muscles have cooled a bit before plunging into the hot water. Therapeutic hot tub water will increase blood flow and circulation, helping your tired muscles recover and build, and the mix of heat and jet pressure soothes soreness and muscle tension, minimizing post-workout pain.

     

    • Hydrate before your workout and often during it. Plan to drink even more water if you’ll be soaking in your hot tub post-workout.

     

    • Think of the well-earned post workout jet massage as preparing you for the next phase of your fitness journey, and reap the mental benefits of relaxing in swirling hot water.

     

    What Not to Do?

    • Neglect your limits and push too hard. This is never a good approach, but particularly if done early in your fitness journey, can also have a discouraging effect and prevent you from sticking to your fitness resolution or progressing.

     

    • Neglect to stretch before a workout or starting too quickly when your muscles are still cool and stiff. Even if you feel like you’re getting the hang of an increased activity level, not taking enough care with stretching is likely to lead to injury.

     

    • Hydrate insufficiently. Your body’s natural process of sweating during exercise and in the warmth of the hot tub needs to be counterbalanced by drinking more water than you may be used to.

     

    • Miss out on the benefits of a hot tub! This is a “Don’t” that you can easily avoid when you decide that owning a hot tub will be complementary to your fitness journey. Take the first step towards this investment, by checking out our hot tub Buyer’s Guide…

     

  • Five Tips for Staying Active this Winter

    Five Tips for Staying Active this Winter

    As temperatures dip and snow is in the air, you may feel more in the mood for sipping eggnog by the fire than for crushing workouts. But even without a gym membership, you can maintain small changes and wise decisions during the colder months. Making use of these five tips will help you counteract the holiday feasting with healthy habits, and keep you on track for a healthy 2018!

     

    Five tips for maintaining health and fitness in the cold:

     

    1) Be Prepared

     

    Particularly if you continue to run outdoors during the winter months, make sure you layer up accordingly to protect yourself from the biting chill. Shorter days also mean less daylight in the mornings and evenings, so consider reflective bands to make yourself visible in the dark. One of the most important factors for energized and focused workouts is a motivating playlist, so prepare your music in advance and switch it up often enough to keep it effective. And if you’d rather avoid the outdoors in the winter but don’t have a gym membership, investing in some basic equipment (ie. small weights and resistance bands) for callisthenic exercises at home will ensure that you’re never without exercising options.

     

    2) Be Accountable

     

    Schedule frequent workouts with a friend to keep yourself motivated. The holidays are undoubtedly one of the busiest seasons of the year, and it can be tough to find time to catch up with friends you haven’t seen in a while. But planning to work out with a friend that you’ve been wanting to catch up with anyway can kill two birds with one stone. You can also challenge each other to try something new, and give yoga or a spin class a try.

     

    3) Be Adventurous

     

    The colder months introduce an entire menu of winter sports! Maybe try snowboarding or skiing for the first time, or consider revisiting an activity that you last enjoyed in childhood. Joining your kids for an ice skating or sledding session, for example, can make family time physically rewarding as well. Or add some callisthenics the next time you make snow angels, by doing snow sit ups and planks while you’re down there.

     

    4) Stay Hydrated

     

    To counter all the boozy beverages you may be enjoying at Christmas parties, make sure that you up your regular water intake. This is particularly important while exercising in winter because thirst isn’t as obvious in the cold. But your body is still expending energy and sweating, so make sure you rehydrate!

     

    5) Maximize Flexibility

     

    Switching up the focus of your regular workouts in the winter can ensure variety and a balance of physical benefits. If your main goal is usually strength training, prioritizing flexibility gains can be a great way to take advantage of time spent indoors, as stretching can be done anywhere! And of course, soaking in your hot tub surrounded by snow is one of the best parts of winter. Increasing the frequency of your soaks and following them with a stretching session will help you stay limber in the cold weather. Maybe also try adding a yoga or pilates video for a full cold weather routine.

  • University Study: Hot Tubs Can Lower Blood Pressure 10% More Than 60 Minutes of Exercise

    University Study: Hot Tubs Can Lower Blood Pressure 10% More Than 60 Minutes of Exercise

    With so many cultures and practitioners swearing by the benefits of regular hot baths, researchers at Loughborough University decided to investigate.

    Their study looked at the effect of a hot bath on blood sugar control and on the number of calories burned with a group of 14 men partaking in the experiment. The men were assigned to soak in a hot bath or partake in an hour of cycling.

    Lowering Blood Pressure With A Hot Tub

    While cycling resulted in more calories being burned, soaking in the hot water resulted in as many calories being burned as a half-hour walk and the peak blood sugar after eating was 10% lower when participants took a hot bath compared to when they exercised. 

    The study also suggested that repeated passive heating, from soaking in hot water, contributes to reducing chronic inflammation.

    While the health benefits of hot tubs remains a relatively new field of research, the results that have emerged in past few years have been exciting to say the least.

    In addition to the cardiovascular benefits of passive heating, there is evidence that regular hot tub soaking may also have beneficial metabolic effects. A study from Colorado’s McKee Medical Centre that looked at the effect of hot tub therapy in patients diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, showed improvements in body weight, blood sugar control, and reduced insulin dependance!

    For the full study from Loughborough University
    McKee Medical Centre Study

     

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