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Science Says Taking A Hot Bath Has The Same Health Benefits As A Workout

Harper’s BAZAAR logo Harper’s BAZAAR 13/04/2019 Kate Moffatt
Enjoying and relaxation in spa hotel © Getty Enjoying and relaxation in spa hotel

If you've ever shunned a session of HIIT in exchange for a good old-fashioned soak, rest assured, you probably didn't do yourself any harm.

In fact, research suggests that taking a hot bath actually simulates many of the same health benefits triggered by exercise, perhaps suggesting that you should spend more time relaxing and less time hitting the pavement.

How do we know this? Researchers at the National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine at the University of Loughborough in the UK recruited 14 men and assigned them to either an hour of cycling or an hour-long bath (we know which one we'd choose) and concluded that those who spent their time soaking achieved similar health benefits to those who exercised.

a person lying on a bed © Provided by Bauer Media Pty Ltd

While the cyclers naturally burnt more energy, interestingly, the bathers still burned an average of 140 calories—about the same as going for a 30-minute walk. Additionally, researchers say those that took a bath had the same improved ability to control blood sugar as the cyclers did.

"Many cultures swear by the benefits of a hot bath," Steve Faulkner, lead author of the study, told The Conversation. "But only recently has science began to understand how passive heating (as opposed to getting hot and sweaty from exercise) improves health."

Though more research clearly needs to be done, for now, it seems there's never been a better excuse to put your feet up.

Pictures: Take the most luxurious baths of your life with these products

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