I don’t know about you but I love a good, long, hot bath. Especially after a particularly tough or stressful day. And for those of us who love a nice bath, a study published last year has found that “relaxing in a hot bath and doing absolutely nothing may be just as beneficial for your body as a 30-minute walk.”1 (I have a friend from elementary school that always called baths “swimming in dirty water”. He was a swimmer!)
A group at Loughborough University put 14 men through two tests: a one-hour bicycle ride and a one-hour bath in 104-degree-Fahrenheit water, with the goal of raising the body’s core temperature by one degree.
What they found was that while cycling burned many more calories (not surprising) relaxing in the hot bath burned 130 calories, about the amount burned on a half-hour walk.
Researchers also tracked the blood sugar of the participants for 24 hours after the tests and found that “peak blood sugar was around 10 percent lower when a bath was taken in place of the bike ride. The bath also seemed to have the same effect as exercise when it came to the anti-inflammatory response post-activity for each of the participants.”2
When I read that it reminded me of the stories we’ve shared with you about the health benefits of regular sauna use- which also uses passive heating as a medical treatment. Check out the video below and this story here.
Of note: all of the study participants were men. Since male and female bodies often act and respond differently, results may vary. But honestly, even if you don’t have the time to take an hour-long bath, any amount of time soaking away the stresses of the day is a good idea. Especially for your mental health!