Study: A Hot Bath is a Form of Low-Intensity Exercise

Exploring Intensity

Study: A Hot Bath is a Form of Low-Intensity Exercise

The finding that a hot bath = exercise might fit in the “Too good to be true” column, but a new study is showing evidence that soaking in a hot bath can actually have some benefits similar to exercise.

A British researcher had subjects take baths at 104 degrees and also bike for an hour. They were then tested to see how many calories they burned and their blood sugar levels.

And the results weren’t too shabby for the bathers.

While they burned about 500 calories less than when biking, they still burned about 140 calories, which is on pace with a 30-minute walk. Much more surprisingly, they also showed lower blood sugar levels after the bath than the bike ride. This is supposedly because of something called heat shock proteins, which divert sugar away from the blood when the body experiences intense heat.

So can you spend the rest of your life in a hot tub and never hit the gym again? We wouldn’t suggest it. A hot bath, at least according to this one study, may be a nice complement to exercise, but it’s not a substitute.

-Shane M.