MAY 19 - 29, 2017
Absolutely! Soaking in your Caldera® hot tub can increase circulation, warm your muscles and increase your flexibility. Warm water hydrotherapy has long been shown to reduce pain and improve circulation. You can enhance your flexibility by doing some simple stretching while you soak each day.
According to the American Council on Exercise, time constraints keep many people from stretching adequately. One of its solutions? Stretch in a hot tub, where the hot water can make muscles more pliable and receptive to stretching.
A study by the Journal of Athletic Training found that "Leg immersion in warm water before stretch-shortening exercise reduced most of the indirect markers of exercise-induced muscle damage, including creatine kinase activity in the blood, muscle soreness, maximal voluntary contraction force, and jump height."
Stretching in your hot tub can help you avoid injury, enhance your movement and repair existing injury.
While we have recommended dynamic stretching in your hot tub in past blogs, a little static stretching in your hot tub when your muscles are warm can help you increase movement and avoid injury. You also have the advantage of water’s buoyancy, decreasing stress on joints.
According to a Livestrong article on stretching, it's a beneficial practice to apply heat to muscles before stretching: "a warm muscle stretches easier than a cold muscle, and you will feel and see the flexibility improvements." The article suggests that whenever you’re unable to complete a dynamic (movement-based) warm-up, try soaking in warm water for 10-20 minutes. No problem!
The National Safety Council website outlines several precautions for stretching:
You’re in your hot tub, muscles are warm and pliable…what’s next?
There are lots of resources online with stretching ideas, including hot tub yoga. For now, here are a few suggestions for stretches to help you increase your flexibility and muscle mobility. Do these stretches with or without jets on the area you’re stretching, based solely on what feels best to you.
In a seated position, place a strap or band around the ball of your foot as you hold each end of the strap. With your foot at a 90-degree bend, slowly extend your leg out in front of you until it is as straight as you can get it. Hold for 10-30 seconds, then bend your knee to your chest. Repeat three times and then switch legs.
Do this stretch to relieve tightness in the shoulders and upper back. Lift one arm overhead and bend your elbow so that your hand is behind you at your upper back. With your free hand, hold the tip of the elbow and gently pull it toward the center of your head. Release and repeat three times. Then do the same stretch on the other side.
Sit upright and place the fingertips of both hands behind your head. Keep elbows forward and do not rest the weight of your arms on your head. Gently press forward with your fingertips while you drop your head against your chest. Be gentle!
While sitting upright, point your elbow in front of you. With the other hand, hold the elbow and gently pull it across your chest until you feel tension (but no pain). Hold for 10 seconds and repeat five times. Switch arms.
Seated with your arms at your side, cross your wrists in your lap. Pull your shoulders forward until you feel tension and hold for 6 seconds. Then slowly pull your shoulders back as far as possible like a swan and hold for 6 seconds. Repeat several times.
Try this stretch if your hot tub has a lounge seat. With your knees in the bent position, begin slowly leaning forward. Let your hands slide down your legs for support. When you begin to feel tightness in your lower back, hold your position for 10-30 seconds. Again, be gentle and avoid any pain. If it hurts, stop!
Here's a great stretch from Andrew J. Cole, MD and Bruce E. Becker, MD, MS on the website Spine-Health. This exercise targets the spine, full back and shoulders. Assume a "Superman" position with hands resting on side of the hot tub and the body and legs outstretched into and supported by water. Gently and slowly raise the head to look upwards. Stop if there is any pain.
The Arthritis Foundation recommends movement in warm water. While moving in water you burn more calories than moving out of the water with the same movement. Why not optimize the benefits of stretching and workouts by performing them in the comfort and soothing warmth of your hot tub? One of the benefits of buying a larger hot tub is that you have more room for stretching and working out. And don’t hesitate to introduce water resistance weights in the mix for an added calorie burn and muscle building. According to Ann Vincent, MD, medical director of the Mayo Clinic’s Fibromyalgia Clinic in Rochester, Minn. “Patients report that soaking in a warm bath and stretching after that seems to help.”
Give it a try. With the combination of hot water, the action of the jets and some gentle stretching, you should begin to become more flexible and notice that your range of movement is increased throughout the day.What Do You Think?
Have you noticed that spending time your hot tub increases your flexibility and mobility? Have you taken that extra step and actively stretched muscles while you’re in your hot tub? If so, do you stretch with hot tub massage jets focused on the area or only in calm water? What works best for you? We’d especially like to hear how effective stretching in a hot tub has been for you and whether you notice the benefits of it throughout the day.
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