Swimming has long been associated with better physical and mental wellness, while relaxing in warm, bubbly water is proven to help us destress quickly, with the cares of the day simply melting away. Enjoying water-based exercise in your own garden or yard is one of the main reasons people search for the best swim spas, which typically cost less than standard pools. Hydrotherapy, rehabilitation and muscle pain relief are other reasons, but what if you could get a spa with added water therapy benefits? Does such a thing exist? In short, yes.
As you may have experienced for yourself, the best hot tubs are superb for soaking your muscles and joints, but if you enjoy exercising in water too then a combo could be your idea of heaven. They help lower stress levels, improve sleep quality, and offer those who are unable to participate in land-based fitness options a low-impact way to stay fit.
Sound good? Then let’s take a deep dive into the various mind-body benefits to see if a combo’s unique offering of relaxation and exercise make them a worthy contender for your garden.
6 surprising health benefits
No matter what your age or fitness level, swimming has a wonderful array of physical and mental health benefits that are accessible to everyone regardless of ability. While people will often choose a tub for its proven ability to decrease pain and improve sleep, and a pool for cardiovascular health and strength training. A combo gives you the best of both worlds.
Research on the health benefits of swimming is extensive with studies showing that getting in the pool regularly can lower rates of stress, depression, and anxiety, improve flexibility and coordination, build lung capacity and cardiovascular health, decrease the risk of early mortality, and provide a low-impact workout for those with physical limitations. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits now…
1. Relaxation and de-stressing
While it may seem like pure indulgence, studies show that being enveloped in warm water improves mental health. Research conducted by Dr Bruce Becker, a research professor at Washington State University, found that immersion in warm water put participant’s bodies into a deep relaxation state, decreasing stress levels. "The autonomic nervous system responds to warm water immersion the same way it responds to meditation or a number of other relaxed states," Becker said.
Swimming in warm or cold water also triggers a mental state known as Blue Mind, a term coined by Dr. Wallace J. Nichols to describe the way our brains release a flood of neurochemicals that make us happier and less stressed when we hear or come into contact with water.
2. Healthy weight loss
If you suffer from a chronic illness that makes mobility or fitness difficult or you’ve been encouraged by your doctor to lose weight for medical reasons, a spa tub combo can be a great way to improve your health. When combined with a healthy diet, swimming can help shed excess weight in those who are unable to engage in weight-bearing exercises such as walking or running.
Being in the water not only gives you a good cardio workout but you also benefit from the resistance of the water, helping to strengthen and tone muscles. Swimming for 30-60 minutes three to four times a week can help you lose weight safely and reduce your risk of stroke, heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.
3. Reduced pain and muscle tension
We’re focusing on hydrotherapy here, as some types of in-water spa exercises enable you to better deal with conditions like arthritis. A whole-body treatment that uses the temperature, pressure, and movement of the water to improve physical and emotional health, hydrotherapy is useful for treating pain and inflammation.
Studies have shown that hydrotherapy is particularly effective in reducing pain and joint tenderness and increasing strength in patients with arthritis, although it has been positively linked to improvements across a wide range of conditions.
4. Increased mobility
The motions used by the body in swimming lengthen the muscles, resulting in more flexible joints. Because water supports your weight, the risk of injury or exacerbating an existing one is rare. Studies have shown that the strength, coordination and flexibility training benefits of swimming are linked to increased mobility and functional independence in older adults, reducing the risk of disability by 30-50%.
Researchers at the University of Finland also found that water-based resistance training has long-term benefits when it comes to joint recovery, with those who undertook swim-based recovery programs showing a 50% increase in knee power than those who restricted their recovery to dry land.
5. Healthier, happier sleep
According to a poll by the National Sleep Foundation, roughly 132 million Americans suffer from sleep disorders more than once a week. The good news?Researchers at the University of Texas found that when participants immersed themselves in warm water 90-minutes before bed, they fell asleep quicker and their sleep quality improved.
Lead researcher Dr Shahab Haghayegh believes the answer to a good night's sleep lies in lowering body temperature, something that happens when we emerge from warm water.
6. Better blood sugar level management
Research has shown that regular thermal therapy can improve insulin sensitivity and help in the management of diabetes. A further study revealed that hot tub therapy may help patients with diabetes reduce their insulin doses. Eight participants used one for 30-minutes a day for six days per week over a three-week period. The water temperature ranged from 37.8°C to 41.0°C.
While further research is needed, researchers believe this type of water therapy may be particularly useful in helping patients with Type 2 diabetes to better manage their blood sugar levels, especially if they are unable to exercise.
For muscle tension relief out of the water, we recommend using one of the best handheld massagers to relieve everyday aches and pains.