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Science Shows That Taking a Hot Bath Burns as Many Calories as 30 Minutes of Exercise
If you, like us, aspire to spend the week between Christmas and New Year's within a 10-foot radius of your couch, you're going to like the results of some research from earlier this year: A group from Loughborough University determined back in March that relaxing in a 104-degree bath and staring into space may be just as good for your body as a 30-minute walk. And that confirms your decision to order in Chinese, binge watch Netflix, and Treat Yo Self with at-home spa indulgences for the foreseeable future.
More specifically, the goal of the study was to raise the core body temperature of participants by one degree, according to a recap in Travel + Leisure. And relaxing in the hot bath for half an hour raised body temperature by enough to burn 130 calories — less than what you might expect to burn in more vigorous exercise like cycling, but about the same as you could burn in a half-hour walk.
All told, the study suggested that the bath lowered blood sugar more significantly than a bike ride. And it suggested that what's known as "passive healing" — relaxing in a hot bath, for instance — can help reduce inflammation as well. The takeaway? Give yourself a break whenever possible and that simple act of self-kindness may have more, and more lasting, benefits than you might have even hoped.