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Health

Don’t Feel Like Exercising While Stuck Inside? Science Says A Hot Bath Can Burn Calories!

By Cristina Margolis·· 4 min read
burn calories with a hot bath

While we are sheltering in place, many women are trying to stay fit and healthy by exercising regularly and eating right. However, recent studies have shown that we may not have to put so much effort into burning calories. In fact, we can burn calories by doing literally nothing at all.

The COVID-19

Unfortunately, while we are sheltering in place because of COVID-19, many people are gaining what is also called the “COVID-19.” Similar to what is known as the “Freshman 15,” the recent “COVID-19” weight phenomenon refers to gaining weight while in quarantine. Although the weight-gaining term was created in a lighthearted way, the struggle is very real.

This is an extremely stressful, frustrating, and flat out frightening time in people’s lives. We’re trying to adjust to doing practically everything remotely, and we are missing our family and friends terribly, all while not knowing what the future holds or when our lives will get back to normal — or what normal will even look like. A combination of all of these factors puts a tremendous amount of stress on people, and one of the ways people tend to cope with stress is by eating.

A combination of all of these factors puts a tremendous amount of stress on people, and one of the ways people tend to cope with stress is by eating.

Comfort and convenience are the main reasons people are snacking in their homes so much during quarantine, but as many of us know, calories add up quickly. If people are consuming calories without burning any, they could quite easily and quickly put on that extra 19 pounds.

A Relaxing Way To Burn Calories

The good news is that if exercising is just not your thing, an alternative to burning calories would be to take a hot bath. I know it sounds too good to be true, but it’s real! 

Exercise physiologist Dr. Steve Faulkner, from Loughborough University, says that taking a hot bath burns the same amount of calories as a 30-minute walk — about 140 calories! By simply soaking in some suds, research has shown that there is an 80% rise in exercise expenditure. It’s important to note that the research participants took their hot baths for one full hour, which in normal circumstances, I would say is way too long for me. Fortunately for all of us sheltering in place, almost all of us now have an extra hour to spare. 

Taking a hot bath burns the same amount of calories as a 30-minute walk — about 140 calories!

The Science behind It All

Another important factor is the water temperature. For optimal calorie-burning results, you will want to keep your bath water at 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Dr. Faulkner says that by submerging ourselves in hot water, it forces our bodies to produce what are known as heat shock proteins. Heat shock proteins are molecules that are made by all cells of the human body in response to stressors. Dr. Faulkner says that using hot water for passive heating is a great technique for helping with weight management.

Other Benefits of Hot Baths

Besides helping with weight loss, taking a hot bath can also help lower blood pressure and blood sugar levels, improve blood circulation, and relieve muscle tension. With many of us hunched over looking at our screens all day long, it can really do a number on our neck, shoulders, and back. The hot water works wonders on our bodies by relieving all of that tension and soothing our stiff muscles. 

Taking a hot bath can also help lower blood pressure and blood sugar levels, improve blood circulation, and relieve muscle tension.

Taking hot baths is also a miracle worker for our skin. It leaves us with cleaner and healthier-looking skin because the hot water opens up our pores and rids our skin of dirt and toxins. Although the wrinkles that appear after a long bath aren’t the most attractive, they are a sign that our skin has been well moisturized.

Closing Thoughts

While doctors don’t recommend taking hot baths in place of exercising altogether, it’s a nice and refreshing way to burn an extra 140 calories or so every now and then, all while providing us with many other wonderful health benefits. I recommend winding down at the end of a hard day with a luxurious and relaxing hot bath. Don’t be afraid to go all out sometimes too — scented candles, bath bombs, rose petals, the works! Put on some relaxing music or dive into a great novel.

For one hour, simply allow yourself to escape from reality and feel your stress and anxiety melt away. A hot bath right before bed will also help you fall asleep faster. This can lead to an overall better night’s sleep, leaving you feeling rejuvenated and ready to take on yet another day as the quarantine queen you are.

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