It's well-known that exercising and maintaining a low-fat diet protects against heart disease. People who exercise frequently and consume minimal saturated fats in their diet are less likely to develop heart disease than their counterparts. A new study, however, has found another way to lower the risk of heart disease: hot baths. While it may sound unusual, taking a hot bath once a day may have a positive impact on your heart health by protecting against stroke and heart disease.
Research Links Hot Baths to Improved Heart Health
A new study published in the medical journal Heart found that people who take at least one hot bath a day have a 28% lower risk of developing heart disease and a 26% lower risk of stroke than people who refrain from taking hot baths.
For the study, researchers in Japan tracked over 61,000 adults for two decades. Prior to the study, none of the participants had been diagnosed with heart disease. By the end of the 20-year study, researchers discovered that participants who took at least one hot bath a day were significantly less likely to develop heart disease than other participants.
"We found that frequent tub bathing was significantly associated with a lower risk of hypertension, suggesting that a beneficial effect of tub bathing on risk of [heart disease]," explained the study's researchers in a press release.
The Heart Health Benefits of Taking a Hot Bath
You might be wondering how exactly taking hot baths can lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. Well, this study only found a correlation between a daily hot bath and improved heart health. It didn't reveal how hot baths actually improve hearth health. With that said, there are several plausible reasons why taking hot baths can lower your risk of heart disease and stroke.
Taking a hot bath has similar effects on your body as exercise. When you take a hot bath, your heart rate will increase -- which is the same thing that happens when you exercise. Furthermore, taking a hot bath will lower your blood pressure -- which also occurs when you exercise. Some experts believe that these effects could result in a lower risk of heart disease and stroke.
Of course, you shouldn't use hot baths as a substitute for exercise. While taking a hot bath once a day may improve your heart health, you still need to exercise. Current guidelines recommend 75 to 150 minutes of cardiovascular or aerobic exercise per week. By following these guidelines, you'll curb your risk of heart disease and stroke.