To burn calories, could a hot bath replace going to the gym?

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We know that taking a hot bath is good for the body and mind, but that is not all. Taking a hot bath could help you burn more calories than you may think. And what if this little moment of relaxation could replace an exercise session?

We can never say enough about the benefits of exercise for your physical and mental health. But sometimes it is hard to motivate yourself to get out of the house, and the less motivated among us need little excuse to give our gym session a miss. So what if you just took a hot bath instead? A recent study, led by researchers from the University of Loughborough in England, suggests that a hot bath burns as many calories as going for a thirty minute run. Better again, your hot bath can also help with controlling blood sugar and cardiovascular health.

Previous studies have already underlined the beneficial effects of hot water, baths or saunas, which in fact reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke or even high blood pressure. Steve Faulkner, who led the study, thus wanted to know more about the advantages or otherwise of heat on the body. Accompanied by his team, he asked 14 people to take an hour long bath. The water was maintained at a temperature of 40°C. The team then asked the participants to cycle a bicycle for an hour. Both activities increased body temperature by 1°C. The calories burned were then measured. The results? Although cycling burned more calories, taking a hot bath burned as many as a thirty minute run.

And in terms of blood sugar? The researchers also noted that the participants’ blood sugar levels were similar in both situations, but those who took the hot baths had slightly lower peaks in blood sugar after having eaten, than those who had exercised: “The overall blood sugar levels were similar in both tests, however, after having eaten, it was around 10% lower when the participants had taken a hot bath than when they had done the cycling”, explained Dr. Faulkner.

Thus, taking hot baths and saunas could be an alternative to exercise for people who have difficulty doing exercise, not to mention the less motivated out there… Remember all the same that such practices are not suited to everyone: pregnant women and people with heart problems should take additional care. Very, very hot baths can in fact raise body temperature, thus damaging your heart or that of your baby.