If you escape each day for a moment of respite and relaxation in a hot bath, you could be doing wonders for your heart.
A new study from Osaka, Japan found that people who take daily baths are considerably less likely to experience a heart attack or stroke than those who take them weekly, twice per week, or not at all.
Tracking healthy participants from 1990 between the ages of 45-59 until the end of 2009, researchers found that daily baths were associated with a 28% lower risk of heart disease and a 26% lower risk of stroke.
Looking a little closer, they discovered that water temperature mattered too. Warm baths lowered the risk of heart disease by 26% and hot baths lowered risk by 35%. There did not appear to be a correlation between temperature and stroke risk.
Baths might influence heart health by helping to relieve high blood pressure and lowering the risk of hypertension. It likely works in a couple of ways. For one, being in the bath is relaxing. If you live with other people, it is often the only place to find solace.
Filling a bath with warm/hot water, some bubbles, a candle, and even a glass of wine can put people in a relaxed state that can have a calming effect on nerves.
Further, the warm temperatures are associated with dilated and relaxed blood vessels. This allows blood to move through veins and arteries much easier to reduce pressure in your veins and the heart’s workload.
Additionally, a bath in the evening may help improve sleep.
Of course, you want to be careful around the bathtub, particularly a hot bath. There is a clear risk of a potential burn as well as falling if you’ve got mobility issues. Remember to pay careful attention to the water temperature as you fill, and take adequate precautions getting in and out of the tub.
These days, in particular, stress is running high. Taking a relaxing bath can help calm your nerves, remove you from the bustle, potentially lower your blood pressure, and reduce the risk of heart disease or stroke.