One of the advantages of having a spa in your back yard is that you can use it whenever you want. This is especially important if you use it for aquatherapy. You don't have to worry about going to the therapist or to the local community center to take a dip in the whirlpool. If you suffer from muscle aches or arthritis, hot water has great benefits. There are also exercises you can do while you're soaking to help improve your range of motion and increase your blood flow. Be sure to check with your physician or therapist before undertaking an exercise regimen.  

Getting Acclimated – One of the greatest benefits of soaking in the hot tub is relaxation. When you first climb in, take some time to acclimate to the hot water. Relax your body and just enjoy the experience. Do the easiest exercises first and last. Make sure that the muscles doing the movements are submerged in the hot water. Stop if you experience sudden pain while exercising. Allow your body to relax again when you're finished, before you get out of the water.

Toes – Curl your toes, holding for a moment; then release and straighten them. Repeat up to eight times.

Feet and Ankles – Sit back against your seat. Straighten your knee, making sure to keep your feet covered by the water when doing these two exercises.
1. Flex your foot, pointing your toes up toward the ceiling, then straighten your ankle and foot, pointing your toes straight out. Repeat up to five times per foot.
2. Rotate your ankle, drawing an imaginary circle with your toes first clockwise, then counterclockwise. Alternate feet. Repeat up to five times per foot.

Knees – Sit down with your feet on the hot tub basin floor. Placing your hands around one knee, draw it up to your chest. Count to three and release your hands. Extend your foot forward until your knee is straight. Bring your foot back in reverse, bending your knee. Lower your foot to the floor. Relax. Alternate knees.  

Shoulders – Lower yourself so that your shoulders are below the water level before doing these two exercises.
1. Straighten both arms at the elbow, moving them to the side with your palms facing down on the bench. Slowly raise your arms up as if in flight to a 90-degree angle. Hold for a moment, then slowly return them to the palms-down position on the bench. Repeat up to five times.
2. Extend your arm forward. Slowly raise it until your arm is out of the water and beside your ear. Return it straight down to the water, letting your arm come to rest beside your thigh. Repeat with the other arm. Alternate up to five times per shoulder.

Elbows – Sit down with the waterline just below your chin. Let your hands rest at your side, palms up. Keeping your palms open, draw your hands up until your fingertips meet your shoulders. Pause. Lower your hands back to the resting position. Repeat up to five times.

Fingers and Hands – Rest your hands on your legs. Curl your fingers into a light fist. Slowly open your hand, stretching your hands flat, fingers spread apart. Relax. Repeat up to three times.

Wrists – Hold your hands out flat in front of you, fingers together. Flex your wrist, drawing your fingertips toward the sky while keeping your fingers straight. Lower your hands to the position flat in front of you. Point your fingertips down, keeping your hands straight, fingers together. Return your hands to the position flat in front of you. Do both hands together or alternate. Repeat up to five times.

If you have arthritis or sore muscles, doing these exercises regularly can help you feel better. Read our previous blog on the benefits of soaking in hot water to discover "How Hot Tubs Help Arthritis Sufferers Cope With Pain."