It would be any weight watchers to dream to learn that relaxing in a hot tub could burn enough calories to cause a significant loss of weight. As hot tubs are typically associated with swimming pools and gyms, it wouldn’t be hard to believe that the hot tub could be an essential part of a fitness regime. But how many calories are realistically burned while sitting in a hot tub.

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In this article we’ll try and find out.

What Is a Calorie?

So what is a calorie anyway? The term was coined back in the mid 1800s and was used to describe a measurement of how much energy it takes to raise the temperature of one gram of water by one degree. Although this unit of measurement is no longer used in science (it’s been replaced by the joule), it continues to this day to refer to a unit of food energy.  However, what we commonly call a calorie is actually referring to a kilocalorie which is why you’ll see food packaging list “kcal” and “kJ” for kilocalories and kilojoules instead.

How Are Calories Burned?

Respiration, or simply the process of living will actually burn calories.  Similar to a smartphone that’s never used, its charge will slowly dissipate just by the virtue of its existence.  However, to really burn a significant amount of calories, work must be done.  Breathing needs to be increased, heat must be produced and energy must be used. 

What Effect Does Your Metabolism Have?

Your metabolism is responsible for converting food into energy allowing your body cells to function and create the building blocks necessary for living.  Because everyone’s metabolism is different, people burn calories at a different rates.  This means some people’s bodies convert food into energy much more efficiently than others.  The most common way to increase one’s metabolism is to exercise.  However, simply increasing one’s body temperature can also boost a body’s metabolism.  This is where the idea of a hot tub helping to burn calories originates.

How Do Hot Tubs Affect Calories?

There seem to be a lot of different opinions on exactly how many calories are burned by sitting in a hot tub, but they seem to range from very few, 15 to 35, to as many as 140.  Factors affecting these measurements could do with the time spent in the hot tub (some studies used a 15 minute soak, while others used a longer period) or the body weight of the subjects (larger people tend to burn more calories no matter the conditions). The fact is that a 20 minute slow walk will burn about 100 calories means that sitting in a hot tub is probably an ineffective method for attempting to lose weight.

Are There Other Ways for a Hot Tub to Burn Calories?

Even though the literature seems to suggest that simply sitting in a hot tub isn’t an effective way to burn calories, you can still use your hot tub in different ways to increase the amount of calories you burn. 

For example, you can use your hot tub as an exercise area.  There are plenty of exercises you can perform in the hot tub and you end up with the added bonus of the various properties of water which can maximize your efforts. 

  • The heated water of the hot tub increases your blood circulation and allows your muscles to warm up which can prevent strain and injury from occurring during any activities.
  • Water provides resistance which allows you to exert more energy with fewer movements.
  • Buoyancy provided by water can lower impact stress on the body which works well for those with bone or muscle conditions.

Although a hot tub may not be the magical solution for losing weight, they do provide so many wellness benefits – making them an excellent investment for your overall health.

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Published by Scott Bland

Scott Bland has been in the leisure industry for nearly 20 years. As a sales manager in the leisure industry he knows hot tubs inside and out. Right now he works sales while writing about consumer goods on the side. If you want to contact him, you can do so at his LinkedIn

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