By: Marzella Sigai
Researchers from Loughborough University believe taking a hot bath may be just as beneficial for the body as exercising.
Dr Steve Faulkner and his team recruited 14 adults to take an hour-long soak at 40 degrees and take part in a 60-minute bike ride. The two tests were designed to raise core the body temperature by one degree so the team could asses how many calories were burned in each session.
While biking did burn more calories, the hot bath was found to be as effective as a 30-minute walk. Dr Faulkner told The Conversation he believes a likely explanation is that we have to work harder to balance our internal temperature gauge, resulting in more calories burned.
In addition, the bath had a significant impact on the participants’ blood sugar levels – a factor that could help to prevent type 2 diabetes.
Plus, it triggered an anti-inflammatory response similar to one that might occur after exercise. This is especially important for boosting the immune system and warding off disease. In addition, repeated passive heating may contribute to reducing chronic inflammation, which is often present with long-term diseases, such as type 2 diabetes.