Whether we’re back from a long trek, recovering from a night on the town, or just trudging home after a long workday, all of us wish we could soak in a hot tub! Unfortunately, a tub is a luxury that few of us can afford, and so we settle for a hot shower instead. Yes, a nice hot bath can get rid of muscle aches and body pains, but scientists have recently found out that it can do a lot more than just that – in fact, they say that the health benefits of a hot bath are comparable to an hour of exercise.
Can Exercise = A Hot Bath
We are sorry to burst your bubble, but you cannot swap your workout for a hot bath – that’s just not how it works! However, a hot bath does provide many of the same benefits of an hour of moderate exercise. The researchers who conducted this study found that a 40˚C bath for 60 minutes causes a 1˚ C rise in core body temperature, which is the same as moderate cycling for the same amount of time. Here are some of the similarities between the health benefits of a hot bath and exercise.
Number Of Calories Burned
“A 40˚C bath for 60 minutes results in the expenditure of 140 calories which is approximately the same as the amount of calories burned when cycling at moderate speed for 30 minutes”
Researchers determined that a 40˚C bath for 60 minutes resulted in the expenditure of 140 calories, which is approximately the same as the number of calories you will burn cycling at moderate speed for 30 minutes or walking for 1 hour. These figures are for a person who weighs about 60 kgs; the more you weigh, the more calories you burn when exercising. This also means that a hot bath after your exercise session will not only help to soothe your aching muscles but it will also help you lose a little weight.
Effect On Blood Sugar Levels
“The peak blood sugar level was 10% lower for participants who took a hot bath than those who exercised”
Your blood sugar level is the amount of glucose that is present in your blood. Glucose is the main source of energy for your body’s cells which is why the regulation of blood sugar levels is a very important metabolic process. When your body does not metabolize sugar in the way that it should, it leads to high blood sugar levels, which in turn causes diabetes. The study showed that cycling had a similar effect on blood sugar levels as the hot water bath; in fact the peak blood sugar level was 10% lower for participants who took a hot bath than those who exercised.
“The inflammatory response is very similar for both exercise, as well as a hot bath and proves that passive heating could help reduce chronic inflammation”
Inflammation is a part of your body’s immune response, as it helps to repair damaged tissue, as well as defend itself from infectious pathogens. However, if this inflammation becomes chronic, it results in your body remaining in a state of ‘high alert’ all the time, which can cause lasting damage to your heart, brain, and other organs. This increases the risk of diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, and even depression and obesity. This study showed that changes in the inflammatory response are similar for both exercise, as well as a hot bath. According to the authors, this anti-inflammatory response suggests that this method of passive heating could help reduce chronic inflammation and might help with long-term diseases such as diabetes.
We feel duty-bound to remind you once again that a hot bath is not a substitute for exercise, and even though it will help you burn off a few calories, it will not increase your muscle mass or help to firm and tone your muscles – only exercise can do that.
February 23, 2018