If you were about to force yourself out on a run, stop right there—because a *bath* might be just as effective as exercise when it comes to your health.
Dr. Steve Faulkner, a researcher at Loughborough University, says a soak may have similar benefits to exercising as it pertains to preventing type 2 diabetes. He explained to the Conversation that, though a hot bath has always been relaxing, it is only recently that science has begun to discover how "passive heating" can improve health.
Dr. Faulkner and his team have investigated the effect a hot bath has on blood sugar control and the number of calories burned. The study involved 14 people each enjoying an hour-long soak in a bath run at 40 degrees Celsius versus those who went cycling for 60 minutes.
The two tests were designed to raise core body temperature by just one degree so that the team could measure how many calories were burned in each session. Though cycling did burn more calories, they found that a hot bath used up as many of those pesky Cs as a 30-minute walk.
'The overall blood sugar response to both conditions was similar, but peak blood sugar after eating was about 10 percent lower when participants took a hot bath compared with when they exercised, Dr Faulkner reports.
He also explained that the anti-inflammatory properties of exercise are important for our immune systems and help us fight diseases: '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.
So don't feel too bad about taking off your sneakers in favor of a long soak—though why not do both?