How this technique works
A research conducted by an exercise physiologist at Loughborough University, in the UK, showed that men who took a one-hour bath with water at 40°C (104°F) burned around 140 calories. It also showed that the hot bath reduced their peak blood sugar levels more efficiently than exercising, which is particularly beneficial to people with type 2 diabetes.
The key here is time and temperature. Ideally, you would need to bathe for one hour, so a little free time on your schedule is necessary. Also, the water temperature should be at a constant 40°C. You probably wouldn’t get the same results from a lukewarm bath.
The experiment was conducted only on men, so women may respond differently and might not burn as many calories as men do. The results depend on the weight and the body type of the person, and for those reasons, it’s difficult to predict the outcome.
Why it’s effective
Scientists believe this technique works because our body produces so-called “heat shock proteins” when the body temperature rises. It happens when a person exercises, but it turns out that passive heating can have the same effect on its own as well. Heat shock proteins are released in response to stress, so they contribute to the regulation of blood sugar levels and can help manage a healthy weight.
But taking a bath can’t completely replace exercising.
Unfortunately, a hot bath can’t be a substitute for exercise or be as effective as working out. For example, you can burn around 630 calories by cycling for the same amount of time. Keeping your body active also has other benefits to your health, including the prevention of many serious diseases like stroke, high blood pressure, and psychological disorders.
Taking a one-hour hot bath can be great as a complementary activity for when you are unable to properly exercise and for people who need to control their blood glucose levels. A balanced diet and regular exercise are paramount to a healthy life, but it’s always useful to discover new ways we can improve our well-being. When it involves an easy, no-hassle, relaxing activity, that is even better.