By Kate Friedman. Photos: Courtesy of CNP Montrose.
This week in internet news: hot baths burn calories! While the concept, in essence, isn't not true—pretty much everything you do throughout the day burns calories, sleeping and literally just standing included—the news was based on research that claims bathing might actually torch as many calories as going for a run.
The study was conducted by exercise physiologist Steve Faulkner as a way to examine look at the connection between taking a hot bath and blood sugar and calorie burn. His findings—on only 14 male subjects, mind you—showed that a bath burns around 140 calories per hour, and lowers peak blood sugar after eating about 10 percent more than exercising does.
While this might be wildly exciting news for leisurely bath-takers, 140 calories is less than what a 125-pound person would usually burn during an hour of activity, such as running. Most experts (and several studies) suggest that a person of average weight burns about 100 calories in a mile of running, and—while opinion varies—most anecdotal evidence has found most non-competitive, in-shape people take between seven and 10 minutes to run a mile.
Translation: You'd have to spend an hour in the bath to burn what you would running for a few minutes.
"The only reason that the body would be burning calories is that hot water would increase thermoregulation to keep the body cool," says L.A.-based exercise physiologist Pete McCall, Ph.D. "The hot water could dilate the blood vessels and increase circulation; we burn five calories per liter of oxygen consumed—if we can increase oxygen consumption we can increase calorie burning. Maybe taking a warm bath increases oxygen flow from deep, relaxed breathing."
While burning any calories while laying a tub of hot water, with or without bubbles and candles, is a pretty good deal, it won't help your muscles grow or improve cardiorespiratory fitness, so it's probably best not to quit that daily run just yet, despite what the web might have you believe.
This story originally appeared on Glamour.
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