As cyclists we all know how relaxing a hot bath can be after a long or chilly ride. What if your hot bath was just as effective as cycling or running when it comes to your health? In fact, many cultures swear by the benefits of a hot bath.
Recently science has revealed that passive heating actually improves health. Dr Steve Faulkner, a researcher at Loughborough University, says a hot bath may have similar benefits to exercising and even help prevent type 2 diabetes.
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 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 Celsius) as well as heading out cycling for one hour.
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 calories as a 30-minute walk. Also the study found that a hot bath dropped blood sugar by 10%. I expect similar results would be find by sitting in a sauna for 30 minutes.
What do you prefer after a difficult cycling effort? Will you start taking hot baths?