Health & Fitness

Jacuzzi or couch? Calories burned are about the same

How many calories are burned sitting in a Jacuzzi? Does the temperature of the water have a bearing?

Lyn

Manhattan Beach

There aren't a lot of researchers sitting around in Jacuzzis researching this burning topic, but it is possible to guesstimate the answer, says John Porcari, an exercise and calorie researcher at the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse. Porcari has established calorie expenditures for scores of activities, including snowshoeing, rock climbing, in-line skating, Pilates, yoga, kickboxing and even dragging a deer.

Based on calorie research for other activities, Porcari thinks it's reasonable to assume that a 150-pound person would burn about 34 calories during 20 minutes in a Jacuzzi. That is roughly the same number of calories that one would expend while taking a bath. The same person would burn about 23 calories while sitting quietly in a recliner, watching TV — not much of a difference. Even though calorie expenditure does increase with water temperature, Porcari says, it does so by only 3% to 5% in water as hot as is tolerable in a Jacuzzi.

In short, sitting around in a Jacuzzi is not an efficient way to lose weight.

"To contrast that with exercise," he says, "a 150-pound person is going to burn about 5 calories per minute walking at only 3 mph" — or 100 calories per 20 minutes. That's three times the total calories you'd burn loafing in a Jacuzzi.

James Hill, director of the human nutrition center at the University of Colorado, came up with a comparable estimate. He does point out, however, that the more you move around in the tub, the more calories you will burn.

— Janet Cromley

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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