A 30-minute walk or a hot tub to burn calories?

January 9, 2020

December 15, 2019 – Cultures all over the world have long recognized the health benefits of a good soak in hot water. Studies conducted over the last several years have sought to answer whether passive heating—like what you experience in a soak in a hot tub—might be as beneficial or better than active exercise.

Several years ago, researchers at Loughborough University in the UK conducted a study on the effects of hot water related to controlling blood sugar as well as calories burned. Fourteen men were enlisted to take a soak for one hour in hot water at 104 degrees Fahrenheit; others were directed to complete an hour of cycling. For both, the researchers were aiming to produce a rise of about 2 degrees Fahrenheit in the participants.

Calories burned were tracked in the study period, as well as blood sugar levels 24 hours after each trial.

While cycling proved to burn more calories compared to the hot water soak, it DID show that each burned about the same number of calories one would during a 30-minute walk (about 140 calories). Not only that: overall blood sugar response was pretty similar when comparing the physical activity with the hot water soak. BUT, blood sugar at its peak after eating was about 10% lower with hot water soaking over exercise!

If you happen to be an avid walker, we certainly would not want to discourage you from hitting the sidewalk or trail and taking in the world around you while burning some calories. If you happen to have a hot tub, however, you could double your calorie burning by following your walk up with a good long soak in the tub. And, if you might be suffering from a temporary injury that prevents you from taking your daily sojourn, the hot tub will not only help with healing, it will also afford you the opportunity to still get that calorie burn from a walk!

Some at this time of year frown at a walk, given the amount of rain we in the Northwest “enjoy”. For me, however, a walk in the rain can be quite refreshing. The air is much cleaner and crisp, and certainly feels good to breathe in on a good walk.

I vote you do both! Get outside for a good daily walk…and of course get outside and enjoy the hot bubbly waters of a hot tub! Both clearly will do your body, mind and soul good!