A brisk jog or breezy morning yoga session in the park can be a refreshing change of pace in the fall — but not all autumn exercises have to be chill-inducing. So why not try a swim spa this season?
That’s right, a swimming pool + spa. It's a fitness hot tub that combines a lap pool and exercise machine, meaning you'll thaw out to aquatic massage jets in a low-impact exercise environment.
“One of the unique benefits is that swim spas can provide resistance therapy and help lower blood pressure,” said Mike Regrut, president of Affordable Spas & Tubs in Lakewood, Colo. With jets and bubbles that work to soothe and relax muscles while you exercise, swim spas help marry the worlds of body-conditioning aquatic exercise and muscle-relaxing hydrotherapy.
And when it comes to aquatic routines, “you can do virtually anything you do in a swimming pool in a swim spa,” Regrut said. However, there are key advantages. The addition of jet-swirling waves that a spa provides can help amplify even typical maneuvers like water jogging and rowing by helping to work both upper and lower body strength. Throw in add-on equipment — such as an aqua bike, underwater treadmill or aquatic recline — and you can further expand your underwater horizons.
In terms of seasonal exercise, swim spas are an indoor/outdoor year-round option for those that can afford them — though they’re much cheaper than above or in-ground pools — and you can usually find them at a local gym or spa.
After finishing a toasty routine, cooling down should be a welcomed challenge. Long popularized by hot tubs, the secondary benefit of swim spas is hydrotherapy — or warm water therapy — a three-step recipe requiring heat, buoyancy and massage, which is where jets can play an important role. Powerful propulsions from flows — such as the Badu Jet system, a line of jets sold by Regrut — can offer not only more resistance therapy in aquatic workouts as opposed to regular spa jets but also pulsate deeper when it comes to an immersed massage.
Thus, when it comes to the winter blues or a potential seasonal gloom, you might not just be wading into a new routine but also maintaining your well-being. And, as far as healing goes, water under pressure has commonly been used for muscle or joint injuries, as well as stress and anxiety, even reducing long-lasting pain — something Regrut knows all too well. After three back surgeries this year, the 28-year business owner found solace in his own hot tubs. “It’s taken at least three weeks off of my recovery,” said Regrut, who’s back to work a month sooner than anticipated.
Still, one of the drawbacks of switching to a swim spa workout is affordability and availability. For homeowners, swim spas can cost up to $25,000, and tracking them down at a gym or spa might require a little extra effort. But is it worth the benefit? Regrut thinks so. “Aquatic exercise is a full-body workout anybody can do in a pool or a hot tub — but swim spas combine the best of both worlds: exercise and relaxation.”