Lying in a hot bath and relaxing may be as beneficial for your health as a 30-minute walk, researchers have discovered.
Relaxing in a bath can shed 130 calories, according to a study conducted at Loughborough University, which is around the same amount you can burn on a 30-minute walk.
Loughborough University scientists tested 14 men by sending them on a one-hour bicycle ride and then letting them take a one-hour bath in water at a temperature of 40C.
The results showed the obvious and the unexpected: Even though the cycling was optimally beneficial for calorie burn, the bath also helped shed a fair few.
The goal was to raise the body’s core temperature by one degree.
Scientists claim the bath was beneficial because of the increase in body temperature.
The research team at the prestigious sorts centre then tracked the blood sugar of all participants for 24 hours.
They found peak blood sugar was about 10 per cent lower when the bath was taken as opposed to the bike ride.
The research suggests ‘passive heating’ reduces inflammation.
Many cultures swear by the benefits of a hot bath but only recently has science began to understand how passive heating, as opposed to getting hot and sweaty from exercise, improves health.
Passive heating is used as a medical treatment in Finland and the JAMA Internal Medicine journal suggested sitting in a sauna could help fend off cardiovascular diseases.
The idea passive heating can improve cardiovascular function received further support when the University of Oregon published a study the following year showing regular hot baths can lower blood pressure.
Writing for The Conversation, researchers said:
Since this early investigation, few studies have investigated the potential for passive heating to improve blood sugar control in humans.
With our study, we have tried to reignite interest in the health benefits that may be linked to passive heating.
Discussing the benefits of heat shock proteins, they continued:
Studies using animals may have identified how heating affects health. These studies suggest one of the key regulators of blood sugar control may be heat shock proteins.
Heat shock proteins are molecules that are made by all cells of the human body in response to stresses. Their levels rise following exercise and passive heating.
In the long term, raised levels of these proteins may help the function of insulin and improve blood sugar control. (Conversely, heat shock proteins have been shown to be lower in people with diabetes.)
So great news for those who enjoy languishing in the tub.
You can watch this fitness video while you’re in there for motivation:
This is James Sutliff, a personal trainer who has dystonia.
It’s a neurological condition which causes muscle spasms and contractions affecting his speech and hand movement.
But he doesn’t let his disability stop him pumping iron in the gym and helping others achieve their fitness goals, for the tub or not.