A hot bath or a cycle – which is better for your health?


Need an excuse to relax in a hot bath? Or an excuse to soak in that bath instead of going for a high-tempo cycle? Now you have it.

A UK study has found a soak in the tub reduces peak blood sugar levels by 10 per cent more than an hour cycling.

Dr Steve Faulkner of Loughborough University in the UK made the finding in a study to investigate if there are any alternatives to exercise in assisting people to live with type 2 diabetics.

The study was small, involving 10 unfit men, rectal thermometers and glucose monitors. The men soaked in 40 degree baths, were given a meal and changes in their blood sugar were recorded during the subsequent 24 hours.

The same participants cycled on a different day, at an intensity that increased their body temperature by 1 degree, to match what happened during their bathing session.


“We discovered the participants who bathed had, on average, 10 per cent lower peak glucose levels in comparison to the exercise, which was completely unexpected,” Faulkner told reporters. The theory is that it is related to “heat shock proteins”.

“We think the reason is that the bath may encourage the release of heat shock proteins, which may help lower blood sugar levels by improving insulin controlled glucose uptake,” he said.

The amount our blood sugar rises after a meal is one of the risk markers for developing type 2 diabetes. Faulkner said more research needs to be done on this because it could lead to future diabetes treatments.

The scientists also found that an hour-long soak might be the easiest way to burn calories because it increases energy expenditure levels by 80 per cent burning 126 calories per hour.

It seems the passive heat we experience while in the bath increases the rate at which we burn calories.

However, don’t expect baths to be included in your fitness regime just yet – the scientists stress that exercise is a better method of maintaining good health.

Source :- Irish Times

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