Bridging the gap between pools and hot tubs
By Rob Santos
Rest and relaxation are probably two of the main things you want to get out of your personal backyard retreat—but what if you also want to feel healthier, boost your energy and improve your overall quality of life?
One of the best ways to achieve these goals is by regular exercise, which is beneficial for your mind and body and promotes a number of health benefits, such as improved cardiovascular functions, increased muscular strength and balance and reduced risk of health problems. While many of us strive to add more physical activity into our daily lives, most find it hard to incorporate a visit to the local gym into their already busy schedules. There is, however, a viable backyard solution to this problem—the fitness spa.
What is a fitness spa?
Designed to be compact and portable, fitness spas (also referred to as swim spas) combine the benefits of a traditional hot tub with many of the advantages an inground pool typically offers. They are designed to provide a swimming and aquatic exercise experience for any bather, from the most novice beginner to advanced athletes and fitness enthusiasts.
Propulsion systems comprise powerful swim jets that provide adjustable underwater currents for resistance swimming and other aquatic exercises. Currents can also be adjusted to replicate the experience of lap swimming. Most manufacturers offer at least two different propulsion systems for different levels of swim resistance.
If you are an athlete, there are models that offer a dual swim jet feature, which creates a splash-free adjustable current for varying levels of aquatic exercise or endurance training. Some models are also designed with a completely separate spa zone, allowing one or more bathers to have a relaxing soak while another gets in a good workout.
Choosing your spa
Although many fitness spa manufacturers feature similar products, there are important features you should consider before selecting the right model for your home.
Most fitness spa manufacturers incorporate attachment points into the design of their models, which allow you to use water-based exercise equipment. This is well suited to beginners, as it allows you to perform a variety of low-impact exercises. Aquatic exercise equipment often includes an adjustable belt feature, with resistance bands for walking, jogging or running in place. This is not always standard, so be sure you ask your local retailer about which features and equipment are included and which are optional before making your final purchase.
Another important consideration is the configuration of the main exercise area or swim zone. A flat surface in this area will not only provide you with sturdy footing when performing aquatic exercise routines, but also allow room for various accessories.
Also, make sure there are enough fittings within the spa shell for multiple pieces of exercise equipment. This will ensure you are purchasing a fitness spa that will provide you with the best aquatic workout—and deliver the best possible results.