For me there is nothing like a warm hot bath at the end of the day to relieve my stress. But it seems that bathing can produce positive qualities other than relieving stress. According to a study conducted by the National Center for Sport and Exercise Medicine at the University of Loughborough located in the UK, taking an hour long hot bath can boost metabolic health and cause an anti-inflammatory reaction similar to exercising.
Although the study is still in its early stage of research a small study was conducted of fourteen men who were assigned to either an hour of cycling at a moderate pace or an hour-long soak in 104-degree water. It was found that the men who took baths burned about 140 calories on average, or what is comparable to burning the same amount of calories conducted in a half-hour walk.
Researchers measured the blood sugar of the participants over the span of a day and found that both groups of men had an increased ability to control their blood sugar. But check this out- the men that bathed in warm water had an even lower blood sugar level than the cyclist. Those men also experienced an anti-inflammatory response, similar to the one produced after exercise. Steve Faulkner, the lead author in the study states, “The anti-inflammatory response to exercise is important as it helps to protect us against infection and illness, but chronic inflammation is associated with a reduced ability to fight off diseases. This suggests that repeated passive heating may contribute to reducing chronic inflammation, which is often present with long-term diseases, such as type 2 diabetes.”
For an added comfort soaking in bath salts and fizzies can contribute to healing and relaxation. In a recent 30 year prospective study conducted by the National Institute of Health shows that hot water immersion reduces high blood pressure and arterial stiffness. The study showed that heat therapy reduced stiffness, arterial and diastolic blood pressure over a course of eight weeks of hot water immersion. I will say although bathing is not an alternative to exercise it can definitely contribute to a more healthier YOU.
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