Most of us are aware of the various lifestyle factors that can keep our hearts healthy. Eating a healthy diet, staying physically active, not smoking and drinking alcohol in moderation are perhaps the most well known. But who’d have thought taking hot baths could be heart protective too?
Japanese experts have just said as much in a study published in the journal Heart.
They discovered this by analysing information from the Japan Public Health Centre-based Study Cohort. This is a study of more than 61,000 middle-aged adults.
The analysis suggests that compared with a once- or twice-weekly bath or no bath at all, a daily hot bath is linked with a 28 per cent drop in overall cardiovascular disease risk and a 26 per cent drop in overall stroke risk. Not just that, but bathing in hot water reduced the risk for cardiovascular disease (but not stroke) more than soaking in warm water.
According to the researchers, the fact that people in Japan typically take deep baths (to shoulder height) could be important. That’s because previous research has linked heat exposure with cardiovascular disease prevention, and may help reduce the risk of blood pressure problems (see Sauna heat and why it may boost wellness).
But before you immerse yourself in a tub of steaming hot water, take care. Bathing in hot water can be risky, and sudden death associated with hot baths is apparently fairly common in Japan.
Photo by Tobias Oetiker on Unsplash