A really surprising health benefit of hot baths

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  • New research reveals a really surprising consequence of taking regular hot baths
  • Try this lazy, comfortable way to turn back the clock
  • Worried about Dementia a hot bath could be good news

Do you shower or bath?

Sorry if that sounds bit personal.

But I’ve always been a shower man. I can’t really function in the morning until I’ve had a shower, and I guess it’s just quicker and easier than a bath.

Anyway, I was a shower man, until a urologist recommended taking a regular hot bath to ease muscular pain.

Now I’m a bit of both.

However, it turns out that baths are more important than simply easing aches and pains.

If you remember, back in September I told you how Michael Mosley, a qualified doctor and presenter of Trust Me, I’m a Doctor (BBC), tested the benefits of hot baths.

He revealed that Finnish studies showed that a regular sauna can lower your risk of death from cardiovascular disease.

So, bearing in mind that we’re not exactly a nation of sauna-users, they tried the tests using hot baths.

It turned out that soaking in a hot bath for an hour burns the same energy you’d burn during a brisk 30 mile walk. It also lowers your blood sugar levels if you bathe after you’ve eaten.

All of which means there is now a completely reasonable scientific argument that having hot baths makes you fitter.

Bizarre, but true.

Then I saw this more recent piece of research from the 16th December published in the Age and Ageing journal.

Worried about dementia? This could be good news

This study was also Finnish, which suggests that their researchers really going for it with this line of enquiry.

They’ve found that men taking a sauna between four and seven times a week were 66% less likely to be diagnosed with dementia than those taking a sauna once every week.

This may be linked to the same mechanism of hot bathing that helps blood-flow and reduces the risk of cardiovascular problems.

Professor Jari Laukkanen, the study leader, says: “it is known that cardiovascular health affects the brain as well. The sense of well-being and relaxation experienced during sauna bathing may also play a role.”

So there you have it…

A regular long hot bath may help you turn back the clock…

You could enjoy better blood flow, reduced risk of heart-attack, higher levels of fitness and a brain that stays more active for longer.

Brilliant!

That’s the kind of health advice we all need at Christmas!

All you need to do is turn on the tap and give yourself an hour to relax.

And not a treadmill or vegetable milkshake in sight.

Talking of dementia, there was an interesting study in Sweden a few years back which I want to share with you.

The 9 dementia risk factors

The study looked at almost 500,000 Swedish men who were conscripted into the army between 1969 and 1980, then followed them through their lives.

The researchers found some risk factors associated with the likelihood of developing early onset dementia…

They included…

• Alcohol poisoning increased the risk of dementia by nearly five times.

• Stroke risk and use of antipsychotic drugs increased the risk of dementia by nearly three times

• Depression and dementia in the subject’s father could nearly double of the risk.

Regular drug intoxication (non-alcohol) was also a factor. Other smaller risk factors included:

• Impaired cognitive function

• Short stature

• High systolic blood pressure when they were enlisted

• Lower than average weight when they were enlisted

What can you do with this information?

Well not a lot, other than to be aware of it and take a look at your lifestyle. You never know what might help now or in the future. If you’re planning to cut back on alcohol in the New Year, this might give you some impetus.

I’d also urge you to read my special Christmas message next Saturday.

Don’t worry, it’s not gloomy, or preachy, or going to make you feel guilty about partying and enjoying yourself.

In fact, quite the opposite.

As I’ll point out, we really need to make ourselves happier and MORE joyful if we want to turn back the clock and feel younger, fitter and less in pain.

Your way of thinking and reacting to situations has a very real impact on your daily health.

Just to give you one example linked to the theme of today’s email…

A Swedish study found recently that anxiety is a factor associated with an increased risk of dementia.

The stress you get from anxiety can also lead to a release of the hormone cortisol. This stimulates the liver to produce more glucose, which can lead to complications for diabetes sufferers.

And it’s well-known that long-term stress can also lead to hypertension and an increased heart attack risk.

So one of the key things we can do is try and find moments of joy and happiness amongst all the worry and chaos.

A long hot bath might just be one of them!

Anyway, I shall reveal more about my Christmas message at the weekend.

Until then, stay healthy.

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