Question: What’s better than spending an hour relaxing in a hot bath with a good book and a cup of tea (or maybe a glass of wine)?
Answer: Discovering that it’s actually good for you!
If you’re a fan of baths, you already know that they can relax you, ease aching joints, and help you sleep better. But guess what: New research shows that they also can help you lose weight, lower your blood sugar, reduce your inflammation, and lower your blood pressure.
In the new study, described in a recent Newsweek article, researchers asked 14 lean or overweight men to cycle for 60 minutes or soak in a hot bath for an hour. The researchers found that:
- While cycling burned more calories than bathing, the bathers still burned as many calories as they would in a half-hour walk.
- Participants who took a hot bath actually had lower peak blood sugar levels after a meal than participants who exercised.
- The bathers had anti-inflammatory responses similar to those seen in the exercisers.
The study builds on earlier research showing that hot baths can lower your blood pressure , and that regular sauna visits may reduce your risk of stroke or heart attack. In addition, there’s evidence that soaking in a hot tub could help Type 2 diabetics get better control over their blood sugar.
How awesome is that? Simply by enjoying a hot bath, a sauna, or a dip in the hot tub, you can get slimmer and healthier.That’s my kind of no-sacrifice lifestyle change!
Before you bathe…
Before you head for the tub, however, I have some important advice: When you take baths, avoid bath bombs and bath oils loaded with artificial colors, scents, and other nasty chemicals. Remember—what you put on your skin winds up in your bloodstream as well. So reach for these healthy alternatives:
Epsom salt. Epsom salt is simply magnesium sulfate—and unlike artificial bath bombs, it’s very, very good for you. It’s calming, it helps to smooth your skin, and it’s great for easing your aches and pains after an intense workout. Simply add a cup or two to your bath water, and stir until the salt dissolves. (If you’re pregnant or nursing, check with your doctor first.)
Home-made bath bombs. When you make your bath bombs from scratch, you can get all of the fizz without any of the toxins. Here’s an easy recipe from Paleo Hacks.
Green tea. In addition to drinking a cup while you’re soaking, brew some tea in your bath water! Just pop five or six bags into the tub at the start of your bath. It’ll turn the water an interesting color, and it’s very soothing and will help you detox. For an even more relaxing bath, add Epsom salt as well.
Non-toxic commercial bath bombs and bath oils. As you might already know, I’m a huge fan of the Environmental Working Group’s “Skin Deep” site, which rates skin care products. At this site, type in bath bombs or bath oils, and you’ll find lots of healthy options.
Lavender essential oil. Add a few drops of this fragrant and soothing oil to your tub, after doing a patch test on your skin to make sure you’re not sensitive to it.
To get even more benefit from your bath…
Being selective about what you add to your bath will help to ensure that it’s healthy and toxin-free. In addition, here are some tips for making sure you get the maximum calming and stress-relieving power from your tub time:
Leave your phone outside the bathroom. A quick digital “detox” is good for your mind and soul.
And trust me—the world will keep turning for an hour without you responding instantly to every call and text.
Play soft music. Research indicates that relaxing music can help you recover from stress faster.
Light some candles. Avoid candles with artificial scents and colors. Beeswax tea lights are a great alternative.
Research shows that even a few minutes of reading can lower your stress levels dramatically. So lose yourself in a romance novel, a thriller, or even the latest issue of People.
Above all, don’t rush yourself. If the bath water gets cold, heat it up again, and read another chapter of your book. The laundry, the dishes, and the family drama can all wait. And remember, you’re not just goofing off in that bath—as the science shows, you’re getting slimmer and healthier, too. So soak all you want… it’s good for you!
Keep thinking Big and living BOLD!