Study Says Hot Bath Has Similar Results to Working Out

posted: 03/31/17
by: Amanda Mushro
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A happy young woman relaxing in a luxurious foam bath.

Now this is the kind of exercise program that I can get behind. If you're looking to get fit in time for bikini season, you might not need to take that next Zumba class or log serious miles on the treadmill. Instead you'll just need sixty minutes and your bathtub.

According to a study published in the journal Temperature, an hour-long soak in hot water produced similar anti-inflammatory and blood sugar responses as 60 minutes of moderate physical activity. Yes you read that right, friends, taking a swim in your tub gives you similar results as working on your fitness at the gym.

But before you cancel your gym membership, there are a few things to consider. "It seems that activities that increase heat shock proteins may help to improve blood sugar control and offer an alternative to exercise," writes lead study author Steve Faulkner in an interview with The Converation. "These activities - such as soaking in a hot tub or taking a sauna - may have health benefits for people who are unable to exercise regularly."

The study involved 14 men who were either cycling or taking an hour-long bath with the water above 40 degrees celsius. Researchers found that "cycling resulted in more calories being burned compared with a hot bath, but bathing resulted in about as many calories being burned as a half-hour walk (around 140 calories)."

It wasn't just calories burned during the experiments, "The overall blood sugar response to both conditions was similar, but peak blood sugar after eating was about 10% lower when participants took a hot bath compared with when they exercised." Quick, someone draw me a bath right now.

So while we are loving the results of this study, of course we won't be giving up all physical activity. However, on those days I feel really bad about not making it to the gym, maybe I'll just hop in the tub instead.