Researchers claim lying in a hot bath and relaxing may be as beneficial for your health as a 30-minute walk.

Loughborough University scientists tested 14 men by sending them on a one-hour bicycle ride and then letting them take a one-hour bath in water at a temperature of 40C.

Cycling was found to burn more calories, but relaxing in a bath also shed 130 calories - about same you can lose on a 30-minute walk - because of the increase in body temperature.

Scientists then tracked the blood sugar of all participants for 24 hours, according to the website Travel and Leisure.

They found peak blood sugar was about 10 per cent lower when the bath was taken as opposed to the bike ride.

The research suggests 'passive heating' reduces inflammation. Passive heating is used as a medical treatment in Finland and the JAMA Internal Medicine journal suggested sitting in a sauna could help fend off cardiovascular diseases.

The researchers had 14 men in this study and had them perform a one-hour bicycle ride followed by a one hour bath in water that was approximately 40C. While the one-hour bike ride burned more calories, the researchers found that the relaxing bath could burn as many as 130 calories due to the increase in body temperature. The goal of this experiment was to raise the body temperature by one-degree Celsius over an hour.

According to The Conversation, the researchers at Loughborough University wanted to see the effects of a hot bath on blood sugar control which is an integral part of the metabolism of the human body. Thus, the researchers examined the study participant’s blood sugar levels 24 hours after each experiment.

They found that the overall blood sugar response was extremely similar between men who just cycled and men who cycled and then took a hot bath. However, peak blood sugar was about 10 percent lower when the men took a hot bath for an hour after they exercised.

Researchers concluded that ‘passive heating’ helps in reducing inflammation and in Finland, it is used as a form of medical treatment. A 2015 study done in Finland found that men who visited saunas frequently showed a reduced risk of having a heart attack or a stroke. The next year, the University of Oregon concluded that regular hot baths can help lower blood pressure.

In an interview done with The Conversation, the lead author of the study, Steve Faulkner, said: ‘many cultures swear by the benefits of a hot bath. But only recently has science began to understand how passive heating (as opposed to getting hot and sweaty from exercise) improves health.’

The researchers in the study concluded that heat shock proteins (HSPs) are the reason for the blood sugar regulation. Heat shock proteins have been found to be lower in people with type 2 diabetes and after some exercise and ‘passive heating,’ these heat shock proteins tend to increase which help with controlling one’s blood sugar levels.