You might’ve heard the rumours or read the clickbaity articles before – the ones that claim sitting in a warm and bubbling spa pool can see you burn a bunch of calories. It almost sounds too good to be true… so is it? Do spa pools actually burn calories, perhaps by increasing the body’s metabolism?
While spa pools can in fact burn calories, and warm water immersion has been proven to improve metabolism, the reality is that a spa pool won’t make you fitter, which is generally the reason this question is asked.
All in all it’s a complicated matter, which is why we’ll be taking a closer look at the real science behind these claims, to figure out exactly what a spa pool will and won’t do for your fitness and general health.
Do spa pools raise your metabolism?
People often associate metabolism with weight and fitness, and there’s certainly a correlation. But metabolism is so much more than a person’s ability to run a marathon or eat what they please.
Metabolism is an umbrella term that encapsulates all the chemical processes and reactions that continuously occur in the body to ensure it functions as it should. Your metabolism is one of the factors that affects the amount of energy your body burns at any given time, and this ‘metabolic rate’ is itself influenced by a host of other factors, including age, gender, hormones, fitness, and your ratio of muscle to fat.
Metabolism can be further broken down to two main parts:
- Catabolism: The breakdown of food components to provide energy.
- Anabolism: The use of that energy to build up or repair the body.
As it happens, hot tubs can positively affect the anabolic side of the metabolism equation, but perhaps not in the way that most would hope. Warm water immersion has been proven to improve metabolism by reducing bone resorption (the breakdown of bone tissue) and increasing bone formation.
There is little evidence, however, to suggest that spa pools can enhance your body’s metabolism more generally.
Does being in a spa pool burn calories?
Perhaps surprisingly, enjoying a soak in a hot tub can see you burn calories.This study found that an extended soak in water kept at a steady 40°C led to the production of heat shock proteins. These proteins are generated within your body in response to the stress of higher temperatures, and are most often produced during physical activity. In terms of a purely physiological response, parallels can be drawn between soaking in a hot tub and doing exercise.
But only to a point. It needs to be stressed that the fruit of this extra metabolic labour isn’t huge – an hour-long soak burns the same number of calories as a 30 minute walk. Which leads us neatly into our next question…
Do spa pools help with weight loss?
During an extended session in a hot and humid spa pool or jacuzzi, it can feel like the fat is dripping right off you. But while you will burn calories while sitting in a hot tub, a weight loss machine it is not. As mentioned above, a spa pool soak will burn half the calories of a walk, and will deliver none of the fitness benefits.
We don’t sell snake oil at Hot Spring Spas. If you’re motivated to invest in a spa pool by the prospect of losing weight, we’d steer you away from the Hot Spring collection. While our spa pools offer a wealth of proven health and wellness benefits, weight loss is not one of them. Despite all the technology and innovation that surrounds us in our modern lives, diet and exercise remain the best approaches to weight loss.
Happily though, there is a spa product that understands the importance of exercise in weight loss, and works to help you in your fitness quest: a Endless Pools® swim spa.
Can I exercise in a spa pool?
There is an endless parade of scientific literature that links aquatic exercise with positive metabolic responses, and in an Endless Pools swim spa you have a machine that measures just a few metres long, but that offers a truly endless, tumble-turn free swim.
By generating a consistent and turbulence-free current that can be set to your preferred speed, you can now add the aquacise to your fitness routine! While the swim-in-place experience is the headline act, Endless Pools swim spas also offer a wealth of alternative aquacise made possible by a range of clever equipment, including an underwater treadmill, an aquabike, a rowing kit and resistance bands.
If you’ve always wanted to own a spa pool, but you also want to increase your level of fitness and perhaps lose some extra kilos, an Endless Pools swim spa is one of the most fun, luxurious and holistic ways to do so.
What are the health benefits of a spa pool?
Along with the romance, the quality family time, the social fun and the property value increase that spa pool ownership can deliver, there are also a number of proven health and wellness benefits that come with the purchase of a Hot Spring.
A spa pool can enhance your mental health by offering a place to escape while lowering levels of stress and anxiety. The warmth and buoyancy of the water can relieve chronic pain and hasten recovery from injury. Your cardiovascular system can also benefit, with a spa pool enhancing the flow of oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood around your body.
Spa pools are therefore so much more than a backyard indulgence. They are able to enhance your health just as much as they enhance your lifestyle and your outdoor space.