Take off your running shoes and draw a bath instead.
I’m sure my fellow treadmill haters will join me in celebration at just the sight of this headline. Because while we all want to burn off that delicious Chinese takeout, taking a hot bath to wash away the calories sounds a whole lot better than sweating it out at the gym.
Before you scoff at this idea and continue tying up your running shoes, take a minute to check out the science behind this claim. Science, guys! That means it’s got to be somewhat true, right?
According to Dr. Steve Faulkner, a researcher from Loughborough University, hot baths can have very similar benefits to exercising, even helping to prevent type 2 diabetes. In speaking with The Conversation, he pointed out that hot baths have always been known for their relaxation properties, but as of recently, scientists have discovered how this "passive heating" can improve health and burn calories.
Through a study that involved 14 people who each took an hour-long bath at 40 degrees (Celsius) and a study that had the same people cycle for an hour, Dr. Faulkner and his team studied burnt calories and blood sugar control. Each test was specifically designed to raise the body temperature one degree so that researchers could see how many calories were burned.
They found out that the cycling did, in fact, burn more calories but that the hot bath burned as many calories as a 30-minute walk!
Dr. Faulkner also pointed out that 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."
He also pointed out that exercise provides important anti-inflammatory properties that help the body fight disease which suggests that the reduction in inflammation through the passive heating of a bath can help in the same ways.
So, while you don’t exactly want to skip exercise altogether, adding a hot bath into your schedule instead of an extra gym day can be just as effective.