Relaxing and restorative, did you know a bath can have many health benefits? From brain chemistry to blood vessels, a soothing soak can be time well-spent for your heart, mind and body.
What Your Heart Hearts
Taking a warm bath can make your heart beat faster, helping to give it a healthy work out. Even though taking a bath is not the same as taking a walk, activities that raise your heartrate help maintain your heart’s health. Give your entire body a boost with this simple soak for a relaxing addition to your healthy routine.
One of the benefits of increasing your heart rate is its ability to potentially improve your oxygen intake. All that steam can also help to clear your sinuses. And, the gentle pressure the water places on your chest and lungs requires you to take deeper breaths—which may help improve the strength and capacity of your lungs. Those are some great reasons to breathe easier!
Way to Flow!
High blood pressure is linked to many serious health threats, but a bath may help lower your blood pressure. The increase in your body temperature from a warm soak can raise your body’s levels of nitric oxide, a molecule that dilates blood vessels, and can help to lower blood pressure. That’s more good news for your heart and your circulatory system as a whole!
Your Goodnight Just Got Better
A bath before bed could help you to sleep better. At nighttime, a drop in your body’s temperature triggers melatonin, the brain chemical that induces sleep. This happens naturally, but a bath about two hours before bedtime can help to jumpstart this process. It’s as simple as this: the bath warms you up, getting out cools you off, and your body and brain do the rest to create melatonin—potentially giving you a head start to a night of peaceful slumber.
That relaxing feeling you get when you’re soaking in the tub is not necessarily your imagination. It turns out, the body associates lying down with relaxation and vulnerability, two things that may improve your mood. Here’s another happy thought: Warm-water baths can also increase our level of serotonin—the brain chemical that’s associated with feelings of contentment and well-being.
Tip on Temp
Bath water should be hot but not too hot—somewhere between 98°F and 112°F. As a point of reference, most hot tubs are kept around 104°F. Whatever you choose, it should be comfortable for you. Keep in mind, even if the bath isn’t too hot, it can raise your body’s temperature enough that it will do what comes naturally—sweat. So remember to stay hydrated before, during and after your soak.