Go ahead and take that hour-long soak in the bathtub. Turns out, it’s doing your health a favor.
According to a research team at Loughborough University, it’s true! Their study suggests that taking a bath might be just as good for you as taking a walk.
The researchers placed 14 men into two activity groups and tracked the calories they burned. One group did a one-hour bicycle ride, while the other took a one-hour bath. (By the way, can you guess which group we would want to be in?)
In the end, the cyclers burned more calories than the lucky bathers. But here’s the good news: relaxing in the bath still burned around 130 calories, which roughly equals the amount you’d burn on a 30-minute walk.
Surprised? Us too! The study explained that sitting in a hot bath (in this study’s case, 140 degree Fahrenheit water) still raises your body’s core temperature about one degree, causing you to burn more calories. So although you probably shouldn’t ditch your daily workout quite yet, there are some sweet health perks to taking a soak in the tub, too.
Wait, there’s more! “As well as the cardiovascular effects of passive heating, there is evidence to suggest that there may be beneficial metabolic effects as well—such as better control of blood sugar,” said Steve Faulkner, a research associate from Loughborough University.
When researchers examined the participants’ blood sugar levels for 24 hours after the test, they discovered that participants’ peak blood sugar was around 10 percent lower if they had taken a bath instead of a bike ride. It also reduced inflammation for the same participants.
But before you hop in the tub, science still has some work to do. All of this study’s participants were men, and with such a small sample size, it’s hard to definitively conclude the results (much less the results for women, specifically). Still, when push comes to shove, a grown-up bath is not only the stress melter you need right now. It could also be a great activity if you want trim down—without a lick of exercise!