If you can't exercise, you've probably wondered about alternative ways to get the benefits of working out. Interestingly enough, recent research shows that something as simple as a hot bath may be a great substitute for people who are unable to get on the treadmill or lift some weights.
A November 2018 study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology analyzed a group of sedentary, overweight adults after they underwent hot-water immersion and ambient room temperature trials, separated by at least three days. First, the researchers studied blood samples before and after the participants rested in an 80-degree room for 15 minutes. Next, the participants either remained in the room or entered a 102-degree bath for 60 minutes. Then, throughout both trials, researchers measured participants' blood pressure, body temperature, and heart rate. Finally, blood samples were taken once more at the end of each session.
As it turned out, the hot water treatment showed reductions in blood sugar and insulin levels for the participants, as well as improvements in inflammation. Researchers said in a press release that these positive results suggest that a hot bath may even help improve the metabolism and overall metabolic health for these folks who are unable to meet physical exercise recommendations. Who would've thought?
It's worth keeping in mind that a hot bath might not be the best treatment for everyone who's unable to work out. Some of the participants in the study reported feeling discomfort while in the water, which might be due to how hot the water was or how long they were instructed to stay in it. If you have trouble exercising and want to try a hot water treatment, talk to your doctor first to see if it's an appropriate alternative for you.
That said, it's nice to know that something as easy as hopping into a hot bath could lead to so many potential health benefits. What could be more relaxing than that?