Anyone who says they legitimately enjoy exercise is lying to you and/or themselves. In my opinion, the only acceptable reason to hit the gym is to work off the damage done to my body by the lifestyle to which I am accustomed—and even then, my true calling is to find a way to avoid exercise and still stay skinny. As you can imagine, I lost my fucking mind when I found out that according to a new study, taking a hot bath is as healthy as exercise. Like, am I dreaming? I can just hang out in a hot tub surrounded by hot men (not a requisite for achieving said benefits) instead of punishing myself with three hours of barre every week? There is a god.
In an experiment published in Temperature (no relation to the Sean Paul song, unfortunately), sports medicine researchers rounded up 14 men and analyzed their metabolism, aka how well their bodies regulated blood sugar levels, aka the reason you were so skinny in high school. The lucky participants got to spend an hour in a 104-degree bath, which sounds a lot like my experience camping at Bonnaroo; the rest were forced to cycle for an hour, which sounds a lot like my personal hell. Experimenters kept analyzing their blood sugar levels for 24 hours afterward and compared the groups at the end. The results are enough to get me to cancel my gym membership aka justify the fact that I haven’t stepped foot in that place for the past month, except that one time where I ran in to use the bathroom. #Health
Exercise is good for your body in basically every way possible (unfortunately), so it’s no surprise that people’s metabolisms were better after they worked out. The part you care about, however, is that the people who laid around in a bath for an hour showed the same improvement—their metabolisms were way better at controlling their blood sugar after eating. Considering a blood sugar imbalance is one of the many, many things that can make you fat, this is life-changing.
Researchers also found that taking a bath lowered people’s blood pressure and helped reduce inflammation, which are both effects of exercise. Apparently, our bodies are contain things called “heat shock proteins,” and they play a role in regulating metabolism. When you take a bath, the temperature activates these proteins and you enjoy a temporary return to the metabolism of a high school student without the misery of having to work out. So blessed. So moved. So grateful. Can’t believe this is my life. Promise to never take it for granted.
Other studies have found pretty much the same thing, although most of them say actual exercise is still better for you than just taking a bath. I’m still breaking out the bubble bath, though. I don’t need that kind of negativity in my life.