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With daily exercise, you've got all the best intentions. But when it comes to lacing up your running shoes, sometimes it's hard to walk the walk - literally.
Chances are, you already know the myriad health benefits of walking just 30 minutes a day, from weight loss to mood elevation to increased motivation, according to Prevention. What if you could achieve similar benefits without moving at all?
That's not science fiction, according to Dr. Steve Faulkner of Loughborough University. In December, the researcher released a study saying an hour-long soak in 40 °C (104 °F) water burned as many calories as a 30-minute walk.
More than just calories
That's big news to anyone who prefers a relaxing soak in a hot tub over the exertion of a half-hour walk. Along with burning a significant number of calories, researchers also observed that study participants' blood sugar levels reacted similarly following a hot bath, compared to exercise. This is significant because blood sugar activity can be an important indicator of overall metabolic health.
During the study, 14 males completed either 60 minutes of moderate exercise (in this case, cycling) or warm water immersion. While the cycling group burned more calories than the soaking group, researchers found the waist-deep water immersion burned a significant number of calories. The soak also reduced inflammation, a significant discovery as, according to the study, "overweight and obesity are characterized by chronic inflammation and impairments to insulin sensitivity and glucose control."
Benefiting from the discovery
Of course, no doctor is going to tell you to abandon your exercise regime. But that doesn't mean you can't benefit from some science-backed research - and doing so has never been so relaxing. In fact, the health benefits of a hot soak have long been recognized in Asia, where Korean spas specialize in full-day sessions of sauna and hot tub therapy.
For example, Island Spa & Sauna offers myriad sauna rooms and hot tubs perfect for spending time relaxing, boosting your immunity, decreasing inflammation and - you guessed it - burning calories. For just $29, you'll receive admission to a full day of health and relaxation, with treatment add-ons always available.
Kristen has a journalism degree and has experience writing in a variety of fields, including art and culture, health and fitness and financial and real estate services. Kristen has written for USA Today, SFGate and the Knot.