Is a hot bath as good for you as a long run?
Hot baths were first used by the ancient Egyptians 4,000 years ago. A recent study from the University of Coventry discovered that having a bath is exactly the same as doing exercise. It found that hot baths can bring about certain similar health benefits to those of aerobic exercise. Heat therapies, including time in a hot tub, can raise core body temperature and improve blood flow, which can lower blood pressure, control blood sugar and reduce inflammation.
Although taking a bath will not help build muscle or lose weight, people that are older or have a chronic disease may not be able to commit to regular exercise. If that’s the case, there is evidence that taking regular hot baths might be the next best thing. Charles James Steward, one of the study’s authors, recommends sitting up to your shoulders in a hot tub that is heated to approximately 40C (104F) for an hour. Just don't forget to stay hydrated! What about saunas? They broadly achieve the same thing. A study in Finland showed that middle-aged men who had four to seven sauna sessions a week enjoyed a 50% reduction in their risk of fatal cardiovascular disease compared with those who had only one sauna a week. It is thought to be an antidepressant, too, and has been shown to decrease the risk of dementia.
Just remember that exercise is generally better for you than just taking a bath, so why not do both?