According to a recent study from the National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine at Loughborough University in the U.K., “An hour-long hot bath can boost metabolic health and cause an anti-inflammatory response similar to exercise.”
It was a small study with surprising results: Ten sedentary men, attached to glucose monitors (which recorded changes in their blood sugar for 24 hours) bathed in 104-degree water one day. The next, they cycled hard enough to bring their body temperature up by about a degree, which is what happens in a hot bath, too.
The bathers burned an extra 126 calories per hour (equivalent to a 25-30 minute walk). That was still less than the energy used for cycling the same amount of time, but was an 80 percent increase in energy expended over not bathing.
The finding was unexpected, according Steve Faulkner, lead author of the study. “We think the reason is that the bath may encourage the release of heat shock proteins, which may help lower blood sugar levels by improving insulin controlled glucose uptake,” Faulkner said in a release from the university.
I – Word Understanding
Anti-inflammatory – reduces inflammation (swelling, reddening, painful, tenderness)
Expended – used
II – Have Your Say
1. Bathing is a crucial part of the Japanese daily routine. Please explain the reason/history behind Japan’s bath culture.
2. Over time, and throughout various cultures, a hot bath (or saunas and steam sessions) have long been touted as important for overall wellness. What are the benefits of hot bath (as you’ve experienced)?
3. Balneotherapy is the belief of treating diseases by bathing usually in waters containing minerals. It has been used in Japan and Europe as natural medicine and preventative therapy. Do you know some of the popular hot springs/spas around you and what kind of therapy/benefits can they give?