Spa pools have always been a source of rest and relaxation for many, but they also offer many health benefits. Research has shown that sitting in a spa pool can burn the same number of calories as a half-hour walk.
Steve Faulkner from Loughborough University in the United Kingdom operated a 2017 study that found that a hot bath can do a lot for overall health.Through their research, Faulkner and his team discovered that spending one hour in a spa pool could:
- Improve blood sugar levels
- Increase energy expenditure (aka burning calories, helpful for losing weight)
Spa pool health benefits have been well established, particularly for recovery after a strenuous workout. This was one of the first studies done that showed a relation between sitting in a spa pool and calories burned and there is a lot more to be discovered around how a spa pool can benefit weight loss and overall health and wellness.
The fast paced daily grind of the modern world leads to relationship stress, financial stress, and/or career stress that can add up quickly. Studies have proven that stress increases cortisol levels, the hormone linked to stress eating and weight gain. Relaxing in a spa pool for a few minutes could help you prevent the stubborn belly fat that can lead to heart problems and other health conditions. Spa pools can also help in recovering from strenuous workouts so that you can continue to burn more calories in the long run.
How do spa pools burn calories?
One of the study’s main findings was that hot water is responsible for some beneficial effects. The glucose monitors that participants had with them showed that energy expenditure increased when the water was at a temperature of 104 F (or 40 C).
The main reason why spending time in hot water burns calories is the presence of heat shock proteins.
This is a special kind of protein that activates when body temperatures spike up, as when exercising. It is thought that these proteins are partly the reason for improving blood sugar control and regulating insulin function.
The heat shock proteins can also be released in other situations such as sitting in a spa pool, thereby activating proteins and explaining the drop in blood sugar levels in the research participants.
This finding is considered the primary explanation for how sitting in a spa pool can burn calories. As body temperature rises in the spa pool, the heat shock proteins come into action and more energy expenditure occurs.
It is generally thought that a 150-pound person can burn about 17 calories in a spa pool within 15 minutes. However, calories burned can vary depending on age, gender and fitness level, so this should be taken as more of a rough benchmark.
Can sitting in a spa pool burn calories effectively?
The answer to this is a little less straightforward. You can burn calories just sitting in a spa pool, but not many. There are several factors involved.
There is the energy expenditure, but it is ultimately not enough. Movement and exercise burn calories faster and more effectively, so are better options if you are looking for serious calorie burning.
The spa pool tends to be an additional resource for burning many calories. That is why it is best used after a workout, even if it has been moderate exercise.
You can rest and rejuvenate your body and lower your stress levels while expending energy and allowing your body to recover.
Hot water immersion has been shown to help improve blood flow to sore and injured areas and decrease inflammation, so there are many added benefits to a post-workout spa pool soak.
The truth about hot tubs and weight loss
If sitting in a hot tub can burn a small amount of calories, does that mean it could form an effective way to lose weight? The short answer: no.
An hour-long soak in a spa pool burns about the same number of calories as a 30 minute walk, and does nothing to enhance your fitness. Sure, you’ll burn calories while sitting in a hot tub, but the number is negligible, so a spa is far from a weight loss machine.
At Hot Spring we’re not in the business of selling snake oil. The (slightly inconvenient) fact is that there’s no wonderpill or piece of cutting-edge tech that will lead to excess weight dripping off you – the old combination of diet and exercise remains the most effective approach.
If your main motivation for investing in a Hot Spring is to lose weight, we’d advise that your money would be better spent on a piece of fitness equipment, a gym membership or a nutritionist. Our spa pools can offer a wide range of health and wellness benefits, but they are not built to help people lose weight.
The good news: there is a way to combine spa pool relaxation with the fun of aquafitness, and all in a single machine that fits snugly in your backyard: an Endless Pools® swim spa.
Using a swim spa to achieve weight loss goals
The link between aquatic exercise and positive metabolic responses is well established. Swimming and other aquacise is low impact, but grants you the ability to train at whatever level of intensity you’d like, from gentle aquarobics to full speed swimming. You can enjoy a high-level cardio workout while all but removing the painful joint, muscle and bone impacts that can be felt on dry land when jogging or at the gym.
An Endless Pools swim spa manages to compact the swimming and aquacise experience into a machine that needs just a few square metres of space, but that offers a truly endless, tumble-turn free swim thanks to its ability to generate its own current.
While swimming is the headline act, Endless Pools swim spas offer a wealth of other exercises made possible by the underwater treadmill, aquabike, rowing kit and resistance band accessories. What’s more, all models feature hydromassage jets that form the ideal warm up and cool down either side of exercise.
If you’ve always wanted a spa pool, but also want to get fit and lose some weight, an Endless Pools swim spa is one of the most luxurious, fun and complete ways to do it.
Tips for sitting in a spa pool to burn calories
If you are looking to destress, burn some calories and get your body into injury recovery mode - a spa pool soak can help do it all. If you are still thinking about how sitting in a spa pool can burn calories, the best time is after regular exercise. Make a habit of it.
While it cannot be a complete replacement for movement, a relaxing soak can definitely help. For best results, use the spa pool as a bonus calorie burn right after completing a workout or before going to bed.
Even spending as little as seven to ten minutes in the hot tub can help you wind down, increase blood flow, heal your body and clear your mind. Hot Spring Spas are designed to maintain spa water consistently at your desired temperature. Water maintenance is hassle-free. Your spa is always hot and ready, whenever you are.
How our innovative features encourage relaxation
The Energy Smart® System and The FreshWater™ Salt System are unique to Hot Spring spa pools. The Energy Smart® System maintains the temperature while the FreshWater™ Salt System decreases maintenance needs and alerts you when action is required. Together they ensure that it requires little effort to keep your spa pool ready to use. Spa pools also help with sleep and lower levels of stress hormone (i.e. cortisol levels) in your body. If you suffer from chronic insomnia or sleeplessness, you can rest assured that your post-workout spa pool soak will help you burn a few calories and give you a good night’s sleep.
Ultimately, spa pool use can be a great addition to a healthy lifestyle. The calorie burn aspect of sitting in a spa pool is just one small part of what spa pools can offer, so it tends to be more of a bonus.
If you are looking to relax and destress after a tough workout or even some moderate exercise, soaking in warm water or taking hot baths can be incredibly beneficial for your overall healing. The added bonus of energy expenditure and calorie burn makes a spa pool that much better.
Want to learn more about Hot Spring’s range of spas and swim spas? Request a call back from our spa pool expert.