Cancel that gym membership - run a hot bath instead

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Stop everything you're doing and read this: hot baths help you lose weight.

That's right. Exercise is a thing of the past. Baths are now everything you need to shed the kilos.

OK, I might have got a little over-excited, but it seems that a recent study by Loughborough University in the UK has shown that bathing for an hour in a hot bath (40 degrees) sheds as many kilos as a half-hour walk.

Researchers asked 14 men to take part in the study (let's ignore the small sample size and just keep our minds firmly focused on the prize). They either took a one-hour bike ride or soaked in a hot bath for one hour. The activities were designed to lift their body temperature by one degree. They wanted to assess the impact of "passive heating" – which is the process of your body heating up, not through exercise, but from activities like baths and saunas.

Dr Steve Faulkner wrote about the experiment for The Conversation, explaining that the researchers then measured how many calories the men burned and also their blood sugar levels for 24 hours after each activity. Not surprisingly, it was discovered that cycling burned more calories.

What was interesting, though, was that while the overall blood sugar response was similar, peak blood sugar was about 10 per cent lower when people took hot baths, compared to exercising.

And the best news of all? Participants lost a heap of calories just by relaxing in a hot bath for an hour.

"Cycling resulted in more calories being burned compared with a hot bath, but bathing resulted in about as many calories being burned as a half-hour walk (around 140 calories)," Dr Faulkner wrote.

How good is that?


He went on to explain that passive heating increased the number of "heat shock proteins" that may help improve blood sugar levels 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," he wrote.

Seriously, could it get any better than that? Honey, I'm just popping off to the bath to burn some calories.

Obviously, exercise is still vital for a healthy life, but I really think these researchers need to do more research into this. Next time they should ask a bunch of parents to take part because we all need this. We all need time soaking in baths for the good of science. It's our duty.

I've got to go now. I have a bath running.