(HealthyResearch.com) – For some of us, there’s nothing more relaxing than a nice bath to end a long, stressful day. Hot baths have been linked to numerous benefits, ranging from improved sleep to better blood sugar. As it turns out, hot baths might offer another benefit, too: a lower cardiovascular risk. Let’s take a closer look at why hot baths could reduce your heart attack risk.
A Japanese study followed more than 30,000 adults from 1990 to 2009. The study participants were provided with questionnaires that looked at several factors, including diet, exercise, BMI, sleep habits, medical history and bathing habits.
The researchers found that those who took hot baths every day had a 28% lower risk of heart disease and a 26% lower risk of stroke compared to those who took baths twice a week or less. They also found that people who took warm baths were 26% less likely to have cardiovascular disease, while those who bathed in hot water had a 35% lower risk. In the Japanese study, hot water was defined to be 40-42 degrees Celsius (104-107 degrees Fahrenheit).
How Might Hot Baths Lower Your Heart Attack Risk?
The study’s researchers believe that tub bathing helps lower blood pressure. It may also help increase heart rate and improve hemodynamic function, or the heart’s ability to effectively pump blood to other organs.
Dr. S. Russel Vester, the chief of the division of cardiovascular surgery at the Jewish Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio says that these potential benefits make tub bathing similar in effect to aerobic exercise. He stated, “Let’s say you do, as you should, 30 minutes of low-level activity (such as walking) 5 days a week. If bathing 5 days a week brings your heart rate up and your blood pressure down, that’s a similar result.”
Dr. Vester also points out another potential benefit; baths are very relaxing. Stress has been linked to heart disease, so the calming effects of baths may also play a role.
Is It Safe to Take Hot Baths?
While most of us can take hot baths safely, it isn’t an ideal option for everyone. According to Dr. Vester, people who already have cardiovascular conditions shouldn’t take hot baths without talking to a doctor first. If you have a heart condition, hot baths can cause dizziness, nausea, elevated blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythms or even heart attack.
Bathing in water that’s too hot also increases the risk of confusion and, ultimately, drowning. If you choose to take hot baths, it’s important to be cautious. Stay hydrated and turn the water temperature down if it feels too hot. If you’re unsure if taking hot baths is safe for you, be sure to talk to your healthcare provider beforehand.
Hot baths can be a great way to relax and unwind, and they might even reduce your risk of experiencing a heart attack or stroke. So, add some bubbles, light a scented candle and grab a book. You could be doing your heart a favor.
~Here’s to Your Health & Safety!
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