Who needs to exercise when you can get a smokin' hot bod from soaking in a hot bath. A research team led by Dr. Steve Faulkner has concluded that chillin' in the tub might offer similar health benefits to exercising – thanks to a process called "passive heating" that impacts blood sugar control and the number of calories the body burns.
Researchers had 14 men participate in two experiments that would raise their core body temperatures by one degree, which allowed the team to analyze and compare calories burned. In the first experiment, men cycled for one hour, while the second experiment had participants relax in a 40-degree celsius bath for one hour.
While the cycling predictably burned more calories, the researchers found that a hot bath used up as many calories (around 130) as a half-hour walk.
“The overall blood sugar response to both conditions was similar, but peak blood sugar after eating was about 10 per cent lower when participants took a hot bath compared with when they exercised,” Faulkner wrote in The Conversation.
Passive heating may also be effective at reducing chronic inflammation in conditions like type 2 diabetes, added Faulkner.
Experts warn that this doesn’t mean you can simply swap out the treadmill for the tub all the time, however.
“A 30-minute walk burns hardly anything, so in terms of results just having a hot bath every day is nowhere near enough to help with weight loss and it definitely doesn’t burn as much as a run,” Virgin Active personal trainer Rob Leiby told Metro.co.uk.
“Weight loss is all about a calorie deficit. There will be some benefits such as reducing inflammation and decreasing blood sugar slightly but again it all comes back to the fact that the best method is always, always, always proper training mixed with a good diet and enough sleep – all these other ways are just crap compared to that.
“Get those three things right and everything else will look after itself.”
Of course, there’s no stopping you from getting the best of both worlds and topping off your sweat sesh with a nice long soak. You’ve (maybe) worked hard at this point; you deserve it.