Baths Might Be as Good as Gentle Exercise

December 3, 2018
8:00 am

Here’s some fantastic news! Baths are really good for you. Most of us take showers; baths have fallen so out of favor that hotels don’t put them in rooms at the rate they did a decade ago. People like the elbow room a shower gives them. Getting in and out of a tub can be hard for people with mobility issues. Showers can use significantly less water than a bath, provided you keep it short. That’s better for both the environment and your bill. All these things add up to showers being the predominant way of getting clean.  But this news might have some getting back in the tub or even having a new tub installed!

New research from the American Physiological Society shows that a hot bath might be as good as a gentle workout! A bath can improve metabolic health, improve insulin sensitivity and decrease inflammation. By stretching in the warm water, one can improve circulation to help muscles. Additionally, baths maybe even better than exercise for depression. Research found that people with depression who took hot baths in the afternoon were less depressed at the end of eight weeks than people with depression who worked out for eight weeks.    

A superficial, but still wonderful benefit, is that a bath can boost both your spirit and self-confidence. If you’re seeking to lose weight, a bath might be the perfect habit to work into your routine as one can burn as many calories as a walk! Another reason to take baths this time of year? They help your chest. If you’re a person who has a cold or respiratory infection all winter long, the steam and heat of a bath can clear out your chest and sinuses and have you breathing easy. And, if you don’t have a cold yet, baths can boost your immunity.

The holidays might be an especially good time to take a bath. Baths are a calming experience that takes us out of the everyday hustle and bustle. As Jessie Violet Larson, medical massage therapist with UPMC Center for Integrative Medicine in Pittsburgh, says, “When you’re in a bath you can’t really do anything else, and it forces you to clear your mind and be calm.” When your family is getting to you this holiday season, take a bath to reclaim time for yourself. If your cousin complains about the color of the menorah’s candles or your nephew whines that Santa didn’t bring him enough presents, take a break with a soak.  

If you’re anything like us, you are reaching for your rubber duckie! Enjoy the bubbles and relax knowing that you’re not merely pampering yourself: you’re helping your health as well.  

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