Now you don’t need to make an excuse – research has uncovered proven hot-tub health benefits…
New research found that regularly soaking in a hot tub has health benefits, particularly for obese women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
The research found that soaking in a hot tub several times per week for two months results in improved measures of cardiovascular health, beneficial changes in fat tissue and other improvements suggestive of a reduced risk of diabetes or other metabolic disorders.
“Our findings are exciting because repeated heat exposure appears to reverse some of the inflammation in fat that may be causing metabolic health impairment in this population,” says researcher Brett Romano Ely, from the University of Oregon.
“Along with this reduction in inflammation, we observed improvements in functional outcomes related to insulin resistance. This means that regular hot-tub use could potentially be used as a therapy in populations with an elevated risk of developing metabolic diseases like type 2 diabetes.”
What is polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)?
PCOS, which affects one in 10 women of childbearing age, is an endocrine disorder. It is often marked by abnormal menstrual cycles, high testosterone levels and cyst formation on the ovaries.
PCOS is associated with infertility along with increased risk of obesity and diabetes, outcomes that are thought to be related to inflammation and dysfunction in fat tissue.
Six obese women with PCOS underwent one-hour sessions in a hot tub three to four times per week for about two months.
Researchers analysed samples of fat tissue taken at the beginning and end of the study and also tested insulin sensitivity in four of the women.
At the end of two months, the women showed reductions in fasting glucose during an oral glucose tolerance test (indicating a reduced risk of developing diabetes), reduced blood pressure and heart rate (indicating a reduced risk of heart disease) and other improvements in measures of heart health and metabolism.
We see blood flow patterns in subjects in the hot tub that look like what we see in subjects during aerobic exercise… – Brett Romano Ely, from the University of Oregon
Surprisingly, some participants reported having regular menstrual cycles during the study, suggesting that heat could help mitigate some of the underlying physiological processes involved in PCOS.
Time in a hot tub is almost as good as exercise
Researchers speculate that sitting in a hot tub can yield some of the same benefits as aerobic exercise.
This is because both activities raise body temperature, which triggers an increase in the flow of blood to the skin as a cooling mechanism.
“We see blood flow patterns in subjects in the hot tub that look like what we see in subjects during aerobic exercise, so this change in blood flow may have a similar benefit to exercise on blood vessel health,” Ely said.
In addition, heat exposure causes the body to increase proteins known as heat shock proteins, which are involved in reducing inflammation, repairing damaged insulin receptors and improving blood vessel structure and function.
The researchers found that levels of some heat shock proteins were increased in fat tissue after the heat therapy, indicating that these proteins could play a role in the reduced inflammation and improved insulin sensitivity they observed in the women.
While the researchers saw some improvements after the first month of regular hot tub use, most improvements took the full two months to become apparent.
Source: Experimental Biology 2018 via www.sciencedaily.com
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