Can a hot shower burn calories?

Taking a shower is an everyday activity for most people. While showering is vital for good hygiene, could it also provide health benefits like burning calories? Let’s take a closer look at the evidence.

How Many Calories Does Showering Burn?

On average, a 15-minute shower burns around 40 calories. However, the exact amount can vary based on several factors:

  • Water temperature – Hotter showers require more energy and burn slightly more calories.
  • Body size – Larger bodies burn more calories than smaller bodies when showering.
  • Shower activities – Scrubbing, shaving, and standing burn more calories than just standing.

For a 150-pound person, showering for 15 minutes in hot 104°F water could burn around 43 calories. Showering in cooler 86°F water may only burn around 28 calories. Scrubbing the body vigorously can burn up to 100 calories in a 15-minute shower.

Calories Burned Showering for Different Durations

Shower Duration Calories Burned (104°F Water) Calories Burned (86°F Water)
5 minutes 14 calories 9 calories
10 minutes 29 calories 19 calories
15 minutes 43 calories 28 calories
20 minutes 57 calories 38 calories
30 minutes 86 calories 57 calories

As the table shows, longer and hotter showers burn more calories. Scrubbing and other activities can further increase calories burned.

How Does Showering Burn Calories?

Showering burns calories through a process called non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT). NEAT refers to the calories your body burns through everyday movement and activities like standing, walking, and fidgeting.

When showering, your body burns calories by:

  • Maintaining balance and posture while standing
  • Contracting muscles during scrubbing or shaving
  • Regulating body temperature in hot or cold water
  • Warming and pumping blood by the heart

The hotter the water temperature, the more calories are burned through NEAT. Your metabolism revs up to cool your body down in hot 104°F showers compared to lukewarm 86°F showers. More vigorous scrubbing and movement further increases calorie burn.

Calorie Burn Differs By Individual

While showering mildly burns calories through NEAT, the exact amount differs between individuals. Factors impacting calories burned while showering include:

  • Body size – Larger bodies burn more calories at rest and during activity.
  • Muscle mass – More muscle mass increases resting metabolism.
  • Age – Metabolism slows gradually with age.
  • Sex – Men tend to burn more calories than women.

Younger, larger men with more muscle mass tend to burn the most calories showering. Smaller, older women tend to burn fewer calories during a shower.

Does Showering Promote Weight Loss?

While showering does burn some calories, it’s insignificant for weight loss. For example, a 15-minute hot shower may burn around 40 calories – the equivalent to:

  • 2 ounces of boneless, cooked chicken breast
  • 1 small apple
  • 5 saltine crackers

To lose 1 pound of fat, you need to burn 3,500 calories. Even showering for 1 hour daily would only burn around 250 calories – just 7% of the calories needed to lose 1 pound!

More Effective Ways to Burn Calories

If your goal is fat loss, engaging in more rigorous physical activity is a much better use of your time versus long, hot showers. Here are some more effective ways to burn calories:

  • Low to moderate jogging – 400 calories in 30 minutes
  • Jumping rope – 300 calories in 30 minutes
  • High intensity interval training – 250 calories in 30 minutes
  • Strength training – 200 calories in 30 minutes
  • Walking – 150 calories in 30 minutes

Pairing increased physical activity with a modest calorie deficit from your diet is the most effective approach for weight loss versus relying on showering.

Are There Any Additional Benefits to Hot Showers?

While hot showers don’t burn many calories, research shows they may provide other benefits including:

  • Improved circulation – Warm water causes blood vessels to dilate and improves flow.
  • Reduced stress – Heat relieves muscle tension and leads to feelings of relaxation.
  • Better sleep
  • – Hot baths before bed can improve sleep quality.

  • Pain relief – Heat helps reduce arthritis and back pain.

However, excessively hot showers above 104°F should be avoided. They can leach moisture from skin and hair and even lead to scalding or burns in some cases.

Potential Harms of Lengthy, Hot Showers

While there may be some benefits, lengthy hot showers every day could potentially cause:

  • Dehydration – Hot water strips away protective oils and moisture.
  • Skin damage – Heat can inflame and irritate skin conditions like eczema.
  • Hair damage – Heat swells and fractures the cuticles of hair strands.
  • Increased energy costs – Heating water is one of the biggest energy drains in a home.

To maximize benefits while minimizing harms, aim for shorter 5-10 minute showers using a comfortable warm temperature around 92-100°F.


Research shows that taking a hot shower can mildly burn calories by engaging muscles and raising body temperature. However, the effect is small – only around 40 calories for a 15-minute shower. Much more activity is required to achieve meaningful weight loss.

While hot showers don’t “burn” many calories, they may provide other benefits like improved circulation, pain relief, and better sleep when done properly. Just be mindful of temperature and duration to avoid skin, hair, or scalding damage.

For significant calorie burn, engage in vigorous exercise like cardio, strength training, and interval training. Pairing increased activity levels with a modest calorie deficit from your diet is the most effective approach for weight management versus relying on showering.

In the end, think of hot showers as a soothing way to start or end your day – not as a replacement for a proper diet and exercise regimen for weight control and health.


How many calories does a 5 minute shower burn?

A 5 minute shower typically burns around 14 calories with hot 104°F water or 9 calories with cooler 86°F water. Factors like body size, muscle mass, and activities done while showering can increase or decrease calories burned.

Does showering in cold water burn more calories?

No, showering in colder water does not burn significantly more calories. Your body burns extra calories warming itself in hotter water. Cooler showers around 86°F may burn slightly less calories than hot 104°F showers.

Can showering help me lose weight?

Showering alone will not lead to significant weight loss, as the calorie burn is minimal. To lose weight, you need a consistent calorie deficit along with more rigorous physical activity like cardio, strength training, and interval training.

Is it OK to take long hot showers every day?

Excessively long (>15 minutes), hot (>104°F) showers daily could potentially harm your skin, hair, and energy costs. Limit showers to 5-10 minutes with warm water around 92-100°F to maximize benefits while minimizing potential damage.

Are steamy showers good for you?

Occasional steamy showers may provide benefits like congestion relief and relaxation. However, too much heat can strip moisture, damage hair, and irritate skin conditions. Steam rooms should be limited to 10-15 minutes max with breaks for hydration.

The takeaway

Hot showers can mildly burn calories by engaging muscles and raising body temperature. However, the effect is small – just 40 calories for a 15-minute shower. More intensive exercise is needed for significant calorie burn and weight loss. While showers don’t replace exercise, they can provide other benefits like circulation, pain relief, and better sleep when enjoyed properly.

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