Everyone should love this. The physically active and couch potatoes alike. A new study suggests that just relaxing in a hot bath may be as beneficial as 30 minutes of walking. Even better, the health benefits go beyond weight management. Too good to be true? You be the judge.
It is called passive heating. And as the name suggests, it is about raising your body temperature while doing practically nothing. It is not entirely new – saunas and steam rooms have been around for decades. However, these are impractical to have in your home unless you have the financial means and space. But many people in the US and other advanced economies have a bathtub in their home.
Researchers from Loughborough University, Finland, put 14 men to two tests; a one-hour bike ride and a one-hour bath in water at a temperature of 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius).
Not surprisingly, the cycling burned more calories. But there was another interesting discovery. The researchers discovered that relaxing in a hot bath burned 130 calories, which is about what you burn on a 30-minute walk. This was attributed to the raising of body temperature. But there were more interesting findings.
Blood sugar was tracked 24 hours after the test and discovered to be around 10 percent lower when a bath was taken in place of cycling. The bath appeared to have similar anti-inflammatory effect post-activity as exercise.
The study is published in the JAMA journal.
Hopefully, there will be a larger and longer study soon, this time using both genders (this one only used men) as metabolism differs between men and women.
Personally, I will not place all my trust in my bathtub and will continue to do my HIIT (high intensity interval training) that I’ve found works for me. But I can always relax in a hot bath after, for additional benefits and to clean off the sweat. Talk about hitting two birds with one stone.