Researchers claim a hot bath could be the best way for you to burn calories
Maintaining a healthy body weight is one of the most difficult things we all have to deal with. With so much delicious food available, and so little time between work/socialising/catching up on your favourite Netflix series, it's difficult to keep those extra pounds at bay.
However, if you find yourself (like many others) having to compromise on your gym session in order to watch Stranger Things before all your friends start posting spoilers, fear not - for science has the answer. And it doesn't involve moving a muscle.
According to Dr. Steve Faulkner, a researcher at Loughborough University in the UK, taking a hot bath can have a similar effect on the body as exercise - and it could help prevent type two diabetes.
Theoretically, then, you can burn off a bunch of calories while reading a book, relaxing to your Autumn playlist, or - if you've got the set-up - streaming your favourite film. Hell, you can even Skype call your best buddy if you want. I won't judge.
And before you all start screaming "fake news", let's take a look at what Dr. Faulkner has to say about the science behind these findings.
The experiment was pretty simple. A small group of 14 men were recruited to perform in one of two activities: an hour-long cycle ride, or an hour-long soak in the tub at 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius). These activities were chosen because they would cause the body temperature to be raised by an equal amount.
After the bike ride or relaxing bath was done with, the amount of calories burned by each subject was measured, and their blood sugar was monitored for the following 24 hours.
As expected, the cycle ride burned more calories. However, the bath also burned a significant amount of calories - 140, to be precise - which is about as many shed during a brisk 45 minute walk.
Also surprising was the effect that bathing had on blood sugar levels, too. According to the study: "The overall blood sugar response to both conditions was similar, but peak blood sugar after eating was about 10% lower when participants took a hot bath compared with when they exercised."
But why does this happen?
Some studies involving animals have suggested that 'heat shock proteins', which respond to stress and passive heating (as caused by exercise or a warm bath), work to regulate blood sugar control. Judging by these experiments:
"It seems that activities that increase heat shock proteins may help to improve blood sugar control and offer an alternative to exercise. These activities – such as soaking in a hot tub or taking a sauna – may have health benefits for people who are unable to exercise regularly."
Of course, this is not to say that you should just swap your bi-weekly jog for a dip in the tub. While taking a hot bath has been shown to burn off a decent amount of calories, exercise is still vital for maintaining optimum health. Plus, building more muscle will actually help you to shift more calories with each workout session - and, unfortunately, a bath can't help with that.