Toning and Stretching in Hot Tubs: Part 2

This is the second portion of a two part blog post about health and exercise in the hot tub. Part 1 described different exercises you can do in the hot tub to get fit. The water provides buoyancy, while the heat allows your muscles to stay warm and limber. Warm environments are a great place to stretch and gain flexibility if you understand how to stretch safely. Here is our guide to stretches and safe practices while stretching in warm environments like the hot tub.

SAFETY FIRST

It is very important to understand stretching safety before beginning a regimen of stretching. Especially in warm water, or warm environments, your muscles are much more prone to injury caused by stretching because the heat allows them to be more elastic. Our recommendation for stretching in warm water is that less is more.

After you begin to stretch in any position, you will naturally go deeper until you finally begin to feel your muscles getting longer. Only go to where you feel it slightly, and hold it there for 30 seconds to 1 minute. The tension should begin to subside as you ease into the stretch and then you can move to the other side. If you feel tension throughout the entire stretch, you may have gone to far. Pushing too hard may cause you to pull a muscle, or really injure yourself. Stretching should feel mostly good and slightly painful at the same time. If it is more painful than good, you are stretching your muscles too far. Now that you know which clues to look for to avoid injury, here are a set of stretches you can perform in the hot tub.

STRETCHES

1. Frontal Seated Single Leg Stretch: Sit in a shallower hot tub seat, like the spots between major seats with fewer jets, and lean back so you are comfortable. Try to sit with your back straight and legs at a 90° angle at the hips and knees. Lift one leg, trying to keep it straight and pull it back toward your body until you begin to feel the stretch. Try to keep your hips even, and hold onto either the back of your thigh or calf depending on which one you can reach comfortably. Hold the stretch for at least 30 seconds and then switch legs. Holding the stretch longer will help you gain flexibility faster, over a period of time.

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2. Seated Hip Stretch: Sitting in the same hot tub seat, with your back straight and legs at a 90° angle at the hips and knees, bring one leg up and squeeze it into your chest. The back of your thigh and calf should be touching, and the object is to get the top of your thigh to touch your chest. Hold this for 30 seconds, and while keeping the same form move the leg out to the side for an inner thigh stretch. Hold this position for 30 seconds, and change legs. The stretch will look similar to the below image, but in a seated position.

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3. Tricep Stretch: Lift both arms above your head and then bend one arm so that forearm is hanging behind your head. Using the arm still extended straight up, grab the elbow of the other arm and gently pull to get a tricep stretch. It should look like the photo below.

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4. Straight Arm Shoulder Stretch: Cross one straight arm across your body and grab onto that arm with your other hand. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds and then switch arms. The stretch should look like the image below.

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5. Lateral Abdominal Stretch: While seated on the edge of a hot tub seat with a straight back, clasp your hand and raise them above your head. Make sure not to lift your shoulders. You want to keep your shoulders depressed while still stretching your arms up. Stay in this position for 15 seconds and then lean over to the left or right and stretch your side for 30 seconds and then switch sides. The stretch should like like the image below.

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You can do these stretches as many times as you’d like for as long of periods as you like. It is a good way to move around in the hot tub while still relaxing. If you have an questions about stretching, consult your doctor first. If there is anything we can help you with that is hot tub related, feel free to contact us!

 

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