Hot tubs are generally for relaxing tense muscles. But it is also a great place to do some mild forms of exercise that can help you get in shape. The hot water relaxes your muscles, helping them stretch easier and making your simple workout more effective. Persons suffering from arthritis, pulled muscles or ligaments, or other musculoskeletal issues can all experience relief from exercising their sore joints and muscles without worrying about too much tension or force causing further injury. The following are a few exercises and stretches to try in your hot tub:
- Bicycle kicks. Sitting on the edge of the hot tub seat, kick your feet in a pedaling motion, keeping the circular movement going for at least 30 seconds – a minute if possible. This will stretch out the muscles in your leg while providing a mild workout.
- Shoulder stretches. Roll your shoulders forward and backwards five times in each direction while keeping them submerged underneath the hot water. This will stretch out your shoulder muscles, loosening up any tightness or soreness. Another stretch is to slowly but firmly pull your arm across your body, keeping it straight as you do so. For example, bring your right arm to the left side of your body so that your bicep is below your chin, or stretch your arm so that your right hand is below your left hip.
- Leg extensions. Sitting on the hot tub seat with your back straight, slowly extend your legs until your knees lock; then let them bend back down at the same speed. Do this five to ten times, keeping the pace slow and even. This will stretch out your hamstrings and calves while also giving your legs and abdomen a minor workout.
- Gluteal stretches. These are great after a long run or other exercise in which the large muscles of your upper leg and backside are tight or sore. If you have space in the hot tub, sit sideways on the seat and extend both legs in front of you. Bend the leg closest to the wall so that foot is close to the knee of the straightened leg, and cross the foot over the opposite knee. Hold that pose for roughly 3 seconds, and you will feel your gluteal muscles relaxing and loosening.
- Arm rotations. Straighten your arms out to either side of your body and slowly rotate them in small circles. Do between five and ten rotations in each direction, and you will begin to feel your arm and shoulder muscles loosening.