Not in the mood for a workout? How about a sauna instead?
Turns out a soak in a hot bath or a stint in a sauna can have the same health benefits as moderate exercise, according to a new study.
And it's much more relaxing than a HIIT workout or a run around the block, reports Metro UK.
A hot bath can mimic the effects of low to moderate-intensity aerobic exercise like walking, cycling, and jogging, new research from Coventry University has found.
"Heat therapies" increase body temperature, blood flow, and heart rate, just like exercise - and could even help boost your heart health.
The study saw volunteers spend equal amounts of time cycling and in a hot tub. And researchers found although the exercise was more effective at increasing energy expenditure, the rise in core body temperature and heart rate with heat therapy was comparable to that in exercise.
And there were a host of other benefits including reduced inflammation, lower blood pressure, and tighter blood sugar control for those with type 2 diabetes.
But it's important to remember that a sauna won't help you lose fat, or improve bone density and muscle mass, though it can boost your health in other areas.
Heat therapies could thus be a great alternative for older people or those living with injuries.
One of the study's authors Charles Steward said, "Exercise adherence is very poor, with many people unwilling to exercise due to lack of time and motivation. And for those who are older or have chronic diseases, exercise can also cause pain, which for obvious reasons limits exercise further.
"While exercise remains the best way to improve your health, research shows that bathing in a sauna or hot tub are alternative options for those who are either unwilling or unable to take part in enough exercise."
Of course, sticking to a frequent exercise routine as well as indulging in the occasional hot soak in the tub will give you the best of both worlds.
This article was first published on the NZ Herald and is republished here with permission.