A Long Bath Is Just As Good For You As A Workout According To Science

Face masks, body brushing and candles: 2018 was the year of self-care. So it's good news for all of us that scientists have recently revealed that taking a bath - arguably the most indulgent self-care ritual, can act as a substitute for a gentle workout.

According to new research from the American Physiological Society a long soak in a tub might give your metabolic health a bit of a boost on those days when it's just too cold and dark to venture beyond your front door and to the gym.

Credit: Unsplash/Jared Rice
Credit: Unsplash/Jared Rice

Before you dive in: this isn't going to give you washboard abs or lift your glutes (sorry to burst your fragranced bubbles) but it is better than doing absolutely nothing at all.

The study, which was published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, showed researcher and exercise physiologist Dr Steve Faulkner and his team study how a hot bath affects blood sugar and calorie burn.

Credit: Unsplash/ Holger Link
Credit: Unsplash/ Holger Link

The findings published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, had the men sit in 40°C water up to their necks for one hour. Sounds tough.

After 10 more sessions over a two-week period, the researchers discovered that the men's bodies showed decreased inflammation, improved insulin sensitivity, and better metabolic health. Translation: the benefits you'd usually reap from a typical gym session.

They discovered that an hour-long bath burned approximately 140 calories per person - about the same as a half-hour walk. Perfect when putting on anything but your pyjamas just isn't an option.

Credit: Unsplash/Anita Austvika
Credit: Unsplash/Anita Austvika

What's more peak blood sugar after eating was around 10% lower for those who'd taken a long soak compared to when they exercised - meaning you're less likely to crack open the Quality Streets when you've towelled off.

The scientists didn't say why but some experts believe that heating your bath until it's hot enough to make you sweat makes your heart work harder (like it would when you workout) as it tries to cool your body down and withstand water pressure.

This little uptick in heart rate mimics the effects of doing gentle exercise (but sadly without the muscle toning) by burning calories.

Enjoy that rest day, lay back and soak: you earned it.

Featured Image Credit: Unsplash/Roberto Nickson

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