Getting fitter and stronger in a swim spa

After 30 years of back problems, Irma Kruger is on the road to recovery thanks to daily aquafitness and hydrotherapy sessions in her brand new swim spa. Read the full story below.

Irma Kruger has struggled with back problems for over 30 years. Today she's on the road to recovery – with support from husband Charlie and the help of a brand new swim spa.

The Melbourne couple had previously always owned spa pools. When Irma’s ongoing back problems prevented her from keeping fit, they discovered a swim spa could provide the best of both worlds – a place to exercise and somewhere to relax and recover, rolled into one.

“I just love it! We can swim in it, sit in it and make the most of the hydrotherapy, and I can work out in it." Irma says. "I’ve only been using it a few weeks, but already I’m feeling stronger.”

Irma’s back pain stems from many years working in a warehouse, lifting and shifting heavy objects.

“Over the years, I guess I broke down too many pallets and lifted too many heavy boxes, and I ended up with two disc bulges and damaged all the nerves in my coccyx bone.”

She tried many forms of exercise over the years, including mini trampolining and bike riding, but they all aggravated her back.

Finally, her physio suggested her best bet was to start swimming. Irma, who’s now a baker at a local supermarket, was keen on the idea but worried how she’d fit in trips to the pool with her busy work schedule.

“I already knew it would help, but there really aren’t any places to go – the closest pool is something like 30 minutes away,” Irma says.

“I work nights, and it’s just too hard to drive 30 minutes to the pool, swim for 30 minutes, then drive 30 minutes home. It’s just too big of an inconvenience every day.”

While she was thinking about all this, Irma serendipitously saw an ad for a swim spa pop up on Facebook®. She had no idea about them and hadn’t thought about swim spas until then.

In fact, Irma hadn’t considered owning any kind of pool as she’d thought it would be too expensive and difficult to install.

“Then I saw the swim spas. They looked so nice. They looked so easy. I thought, ‘Oh, how practical is that?’ You don’t need to dig a big hole as you would for a pool – you can just put it on a slab,” Irma says.

“The biggest benefit is we can use it all year round, 12 months of the year, as opposed to a pool that you can use for six months.”

While Irma was sold on the idea of swim spas, she was initially put off by the price.

Swim spas start at around $20,000 for entry-level models like the Fisher Swim™, to over $60,000 for a top of the line model like the Jacuzzi® Powerpro® 16.

“Let me tell you. We don’t have a lot of money. We don’t have fancy cars or live in a fancy house. We’re middle of the road. Charlie’s retired. I work in a bakery for Woolworths®."

But when she considered the long-term health benefits of owning a swim spa, plus the fact you can use it year-round for both hydrotherapy and aqua fitness, Irma decided it was well worth the investment.

“There wasn’t much difference price-wise between the spa and the swim spa, so when you factor in being able to use it forever, all year round, and with kids and grandkids – it makes it a double benefit,” says Irma.

The next step was convincing Charlie.

“But he just turned around and said, ‘Well, let’s not wait. Let’s get one now!’”

And that was that. The swim spa plan was put into action.

Charlie, a retired builder and practical man, took on the research. He did a bit of online reading and thought the spas from Spa World seemed better quality than others he’d seen.

They live in Mornington, so they decided to visit Spa World in Dandenong. The process was all pretty straightforward.

“They were really helpful. Initially, we thought we’d get a bigger spa, the longer 6m one, but they said they’d had a cancellation on another one when we got there.”

“It was on its way, so if we were interested, we could have it whenever we wanted it. We just thought, let’s do it,” says Charlie.

They are now the proud owners of a Vortex™ Aquagym Pro™ Swim Spa – a swim spa and spa all in one.

"They are now the proud owners of a Vortex™ Aquagym Pro™ Swim Spa - a swim spa and spa all in one."

Once the swim spa was in place, Irma wasted no time starting her new fitness regime. For now, she’s working on building up her fitness and using the water’s resistance to increase her lower back and hip strength.

She’s been doing around 40 minutes of vertical aquafitness a day, followed by 10 minutes of hydrotherapy with the massage jets to relax and relieve muscle tension.

"It’s only been a couple of weeks, but I’ve noticed I’m already a lot more flexible."
Irma Kruger

“I jumped onto YouTube® and got some lower back and hip exercises, so I’ve been doing leg exercises and pull-ins for my core and exercises like that.” she says.

"Once the swim spa was in place, Irma wasted no time starting her new fitness regime."

“It’s only been a couple of weeks, but I’ve noticed I’m already a lot more flexible than I was. Just gradually each week, I’ll get better and then I’ll start using it with the swim jets on and actually swimming in it.”

Her long-term goal is to be able to swim horizontally against the spa’s powerful swim jets.

Eventually, Irma wants to build up her physical strength and fitness until she no longer needs the strong pain medication she currently relies on.

“That would be the perfect situation,” she says. “I want to be able to swim like I used to – freestyle, breaststroke and backstroke.”

“I’m not sure how long it will take because I’ve done quite a bit of damage to my back, but I’m hoping I’ll be there within a couple of months.”

"It’s a beautiful spa. I’ve shown photos to the girls at work. Everyone’s like: ‘Oh my God!’"

Overall, Irma and Charlie’s swim spa has complemented their needs and lifestyle perfectly. Not only is it great for fitness, but their extended family are enjoying it too.

“The fact that multiple people can use it for different purposes at the same time has been a huge benefit. While I’m doing my exercises, my grandkids and great-grandkids can be sitting on the jets in the spa side.”

"We can swim in it, sit in it and make the most of the hydrotherapy."

After going from someone who knew nothing about swim spas, Irma has even turned into a de facto swim spa salesperson – telling everyone she meets how wonderful they are and how much she loves it.

“It’s a beautiful spa. I’ve shown photos to the girls at work. Everyone’s like, ‘oh, my God.’ One of the guys I work with said his wife wanted to get one, so I recommended Spa World – you won’t regret it!”

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