Steve Faulkner, a researcher at Loughborough University, says that taking a hot, relaxing bath may have similar health benefits to exercising and may help improve overall health.
He explained to The Conversation that only recently has science started to investigate “passive heating”. Dr.Faulkner and his team have studied the effect a hot bath has on blood sugar control and the number of calories burned. Their research involved 14 people who took an hour-long soak in a bath at 100 degree water, as well as heading out on a hour’s cycle. The two test were designed to raise core body temperature by just one degree so that the team could measure how many calories were burned in each session.
Though cycling did burn more calories, they found that a hot bath used up as many calories as a 30-minute walk.
“The overall blood sugar response to both conditions was similar, but peak blood sugar after eating was 10 percent lower when participants took a hot bath compared with when they exercised”, Faulkner reports.
He also explained that the anti-inflammatory properties of exercise are important for our immune systems and help us fight disease: ‘This suggests that repeated passive heating say contribute to reducing chronic inflammation, which is often present with long-term disease, such as type 2 diabetes”.
While these findings won’t make us choose taking a bath over getting some exercise every time, it will be definitely help us indulge in both pursuits more often.