I have to confess; I haven’t ridden a bike for years. And even then it was Barbie pink, had a basket on the front, and a bell that I rang at any opportunity. Cycling just isn’t my thing. Or so I thought… When I heard that the Pearl Spa at Dubai’s Four Seasons Resort had a spa bike, I was intrigued – anything with the word “spa” in it gets my attention. It’s all about relaxing and being pampered, so surely that’s what a spa bike does, except for the fact that you’re sitting on a saddle, right? Oh, how wrong I was.
So what exactly is a spa bike? It’s essentially a big hydro-massage bath (similar to a hot tub) with a built-in bike, a hardcore exercise device that will have you spinning away in water in a bid to get into shape, fast. Not only do you get the benefits of cycling (calorie and fat burning), but the water jets also massage your lower body and provide resistance, helping to sculpt and tone, increase circulation, fight water retention, and combat cellulite. It offers a full-body cardio workout and is great for anyone with injuries as the water helps take pressure off your joints, which is why athletes use hydrotherapy to improve their endurance. It’s also incredibly relaxing and calming – there’s no loud booming music or people shouting at you. Instead, you’re tucked away in your own secluded room in the Pearl Spa and left in complete privacy whilst you work out. Curious to find out more, I head to the Four Seasons Hotel to try it out myself.
When the 40 minutes are up, I’m exhausted. My face is bright red, I’ve worked up a serious sweat, and my legs are like jelly just walking down the few steps back into the room. But I also feel invigorated, every part of my body is alive, and I feel on top of the world.
Stepping into the water, I’m surprised to feel that it’s cold. Cold water and I don’t get along. Slowly sinking myself onto the seat (much to the amusement of the therapist), I’m soon sat waist high in cold water, in what I can only describe as a big tank, in my bathing suit. Not my most glamorous moment. I’m given a waterproof iPad with headphones, a stack of towels, and water, the jets are turned on, and I’m left alone for 40 minutes to cycle as hard and as fast as I can.
Following a program on the iPad, which lets you ride along country roads, takes you under the sea, and high into the sky, I find myself struggling – about six minutes in. I start to panic; I can’t actually do this for another 34 minutes. My legs are already aching from battling against the water jets, my glutes are on fire from the intervals of having to lift my derrière off the seat, and I’m starting to get hot and sweaty. Now I understand the need for the towels and bottles of water…
But I power on, and amazingly I’m soon more than halfway through the session. I think this is mostly down to the fact I’ve lost feeling in my legs, so I can’t actually feel them burning anymore. My therapist comes in every now and again to make sure I’m okay (and probably to check I haven’t fallen out of my container) and the motivating voice from the program keeps me going, encouraging me to “go faster” and “pedal harder”. When the 40 minutes are up, I’m exhausted. My face is bright red, I’ve worked up a serious sweat, and my legs are like jelly just walking down the few steps back into the room. But I also feel invigorated, every part of my body is alive, and I feel on top of the world. Especially when I’m told I’ve burned 779 calories! With a spring in my step (well, almost – I can barely lift them, but you know what I mean) I make my way to the spa’s sumptuous facilities to relax before checking in to the hotel’s En Vogue Salon for a beautifying blow-dry. Hey, I deserve it. I leave feeling like a new person, both inside and out, and I can safely say that spa-bike cycling is definitely my thing.
The Pearl Spa ‘Spa Bike Session’, AED 270/SAR 276 for 40 minutes, Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach.
For appointments and information, call (+971) 4 270 7706.