A Hot Bath May Be As Good As Exercise (Here’s Why)

There are a number of “fitness trends” out there that don’t mean a thing. From people putting butter on their bodies to drinking special tea — people will do just about anything to lose weight.  But new research found that one thing we already do can truly help lose weight: a hot bath.

Many cultures swear by the benefits of a hot bath it makes us relaxed, gets us in the mood (wink, wink). But only recently has science began to understand how passive heating (as opposed to hot and sweaty exercise) improves your health.

Loughborough University investigated the effect of a hot bath on blood sugar control (which is super important in fitness) and the number of calories burned. Participants were assigned to an hour-long soak in a hot bath (40 degrees Celsius) or an hour of cycling. The activities were designed to cause a 1 degrees Celsius rise in core body temperature over the course of one hour.

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). The overall blood sugar response to both conditions was similar, but peak blood sugar after eating was about 10 percent lower when participants took a hot bath compared with when they exercised.