functional fitness

Functional fitness for everyone: Water exercise ideas

Many of us exercise to improve our fitness level, to change the way our bodies look, or to just feel better. Squats can tone and tighten our legs. Swimming and running can improve our heart health. Yoga can put us in a better mood. 

Often what we don’t realize is that those exercises help us do something else: live life better. 

We can go up and down steps without losing our breath. Getting in and out of a chair is easier. You don’t feel that niggle in your back when you reach for the serving bowl on the top shelf. 

While those are positive “side effects,” incorporating functional fitness exercises is important. Functional fitness improves our ability to perform activities of daily life. Training our muscles in a way similar to which we use them builds the strength and mobility needed to avoid injury and improve our quality of life. 

It is increasingly important to incorporate functional movements into an exercise routine as our lives become more sedentary and inactive. 

Incorporating a swim spa by Master Spas into your functional fitness routine can bridge the gap between water and land-based workouts.

functional fitness
Functional fitness exercises include pulling movements, such as this row using resistance tubing. You can perform the movements in a swim spa, which offers a low impact environment for working out.

What is Functional Fitness?

Functional fitness training focuses on exercises that mimic movements that you use throughout the day. Movements include pushing, pulling, hinging, squatting, lunging, rotating and walking/running. 

You should should also include components of flexibility, core strength, balance, and coordinated movements.

Functional Fitness in a Swim Spa


Flexibility is compromised as an increasing number of us spend the majority of our day sitting. When our muscles get tighter and weaker from inactivity, the risk of injury is significantly increased. 

Water’s unique properties of buoyancy and resistance can help to improve the flexibility and mobility of your joints. Water provides three-dimensional resistance, which helps to work on flexibility and strength/stability at the same time. This helps to assist in reducing muscle imbalances and improving posture and function.

Core Strength

Water challenges your core muscles in a much different way than exercising on land. Because water is a surrounding medium, it provides resistance in every direction you move. Water provides constant feedback to assist with core strength. Just maintaining an upright posture in the water recruits your core muscles in a more functional way.


Water’s resistance helps to improve overall balance and coordination. Functional fitness training should incorporate single leg exercises, which are easier to perform and challenge in the water. Integrating the water current of a swim spa by Master Spas will further challenge balance and coordination.

march in water
Waking in the water of a swim spa is a beneficial functional fitness exercise. Walking in water helps improve balance, core strength, and cardio fitness.

Functional Exercises for Your Swim Spa

If you are interested in taking your functional fitness routine to the swim spa or pool, here are some exercises to try. You’ll get the most benefit from these exercises when the water depth is at your chest. 

There are “deep” swim spa models, which allow you to maximize the benefits of water’s buoyancy. The swim spas are 60 inches tall with a water depth of about 50 inches.

Walking Forward

Keep an upright posture while walking against the water current of the swim spa. Focus on keeping the core and glutes engaged while maintaining opposite arm and leg motion. Perform the exercise for 2-3 minutes.

functional fitness
The split stance push-pull can improve strength and balance. When you perform the functional fitness exercise in a swim spa by Master Spas, you can benefit from water’s buoyancy.

Split Stance Push/Pulls

Standing with one foot in front of the other, perform a push and pull motion. Focus on moving the water away from your body with the push and squeezing the shoulder blades together on the pull. Be sure to engage your core and glutes and maintain good posture. Perform the exercise for 60 to 90 seconds and then switch legs. 

swim spa exercise
The forward lunge is a swim spa exercise that can help improve functional movements.

Forward Lunges

Begin by standing with your feet together and core tight. Step forward with one leg and lower your hips until both knees are bent at about a 90-degree angle. Return to start position. Perform 60-90 Seconds with each leg.

functional fitness core
A core rotation performed in the swim spa can help improve strength and the ability to perm or activities of daily life.

Core Rotations

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and keep your core tight. With your arms outstretched, clasp your hands together. Slowly rotate from your hips side to side. As you rotate, you should keep your head, chest and arms in line. Be mindful not to twist through the low back. Perform for 60 to 90 seconds.

water exercise ball
A ball can change the dynamic of your water exercise routine, helping you to strengthen your core.

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