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Can hot baths protect your heart?
Taking a warm bath helps soothe aching joints, wash away stress, and promote sleep. Now, a study published online March 24, 2020, by the journal Heart suggests that daily hot baths are also associated with better heart health. Researchers analyzed self-reported health and lifestyle information from more than 30,000 middle-aged people in Japan. Participants responded to a questionnaire at the start of the study and were then followed for about 20 years. Compared with people who didn't take a tub bath more than twice a week, people who took a daily warm or hot bath had a 28% lower risk of cardiovascular disease and a 26% lower risk of stroke. The study is only observational and doesn't prove that daily tub bathing staves off heart problems. But previous research has shown that the effects of tub bathing on the body are similar to those of exercise. Use caution, however: taking baths in very hot water is also tied to sudden death due to overheating, confusion, or drowning. If you're going to take a bath, keep the temperature comfortable and don't risk overheating. Finally, this study says nothing about the possible cardiovascular benefits of hot showers.
Image: © JohnnyGreig/Getty Images
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