Don't feel like exercising? Take some time for the tub instead!
When your body isn't up for exercise, a new study has found a hot bath or sauna session can mimic the same effects as low-to-moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, such as walking, jogging and cycling.
New research from Coventry University has found particular ‘heat therapies’ can increase blood flow, body temperature and heart rate just like exercise, and it could help improve cardiovascular health.
In the study, volunteers were spending equal times using a hot tub and cycling. Researchers found exercise was better at increasing energy expenditure, but there were comparable rises in core body temperature and heart rate with heat therapy.
Other benefits of heat therapy include lower blood pressure, reduced inflammation and tighter blood sugar control for people with type 2 diabetes.
Charles Steward, an author on the study, said: ‘Exercise adherence is very poor, with many people unwilling to exercise due to lack of time and motivation. And for those who are older or have chronic diseases, exercise can also cause pain, which for obvious reasons limits exercise further.
‘While exercise remains the best way to improve your health, research shows that bathing in a sauna or hot tub are alternative options for those who are either unwilling or unable to take part in enough exercise.’
If you're hoping a hot bath can burn away the fat and build muscle, you're out of luck - that's still most effective with good, old exercise.
But embrace the benefits of a hot bath every once in a while, and take it easy!