On chilly days or when our muscles are sore and aching, we all turn to hot water baths. Recent research has shown that not only are hot water baths really relaxing, but they also burn calories. Yes, you read that right! It was always obvious that baths burnt some calories because standing and even sleeping burns calories. But, it was seen that a hot water shower (because of passive heating) burns the same amount of calories as a 30-minute walk.
According to a research by Dr. Steve Faulkner, taking a hot bath can be just as effective as exercise when it comes to health benefits. In Faulkner’s study, participants took hour-long baths at 40 °C or rode a bicycle for an hour. The participants were then monitored for blood sugar control and calories burned. It was seen that the participants who rode the bicycle burnt more calories, but the participants who took the hour-long baths had 10% lower blood sugar peaks after eating compared to the participants who exercised. This research also showed that hot water baths also boost the immune system. “This suggests that repeated passive heating may contribute to reducing chronic inflammation, which is often present with long-term diseases, such as type 2 diabetes,” Faulkner said.
While burning calories by just taking a hot water bath is amazing news, it is not the time to ditch that gym membership just yet! Hot water baths won’t help your muscles grow nor will it improve your cardiorespiratory fitness. So, while we take all the hot water baths our hearts desire, we have to maintain our diet and exercise as well to actually lose weight. Although, pregnant women and people with heart conditions should be cautious as soaking in hot water increases the body temperature and puts stress on the heart.