by Kristen Troy
The sauna: a gym amenity that may be overlooked because it is housed in the locker room. These hot, wood-paneled rooms can be a beneficial addition to your pre-and post-workout routines. So how can sitting in a hot and dry room contribute to your health and fitness? Let’s take a look at five ways a sauna can be beneficial.
Using a sauna immediately after an intense workout can lead to better recovery and better overall performance. This is because increased circulation can help reduce muscle soreness and improve joint movement.
Many studies show a demonstrable increase in heart health in those who regularly incorporate a sauna into their routine. Improved heart health includes lower cholesterol, decreased blood pressure, and lower resting heart rates over time as you regularly use a sauna. However, individuals should be cautious when moving between the hot sauna and a cold environment, which can elevate blood pressure too much. People with low blood pressure and those who have recently had a heart attack should talk to their doctor before using a sauna.
Reduce Water Weight
When people sit in a dry sauna, the heat causes them to sweat. A person can lose up to one pint of sweat while sitting in a sauna. Often the extreme heat makes people feel relaxed and looser than they were before entering the sauna. However, this can lead to dehydration, so it is recommended to avoid staying in a sauna for more than 30 minutes and make sure to hydrate after exiting the sauna.
Sitting in dry heat can help improve your skin’s health and appearance. The heat will help dry skin cells shed more efficiently, which helps promote the growth of new skin cells and enhances collagen production for a rejuvenated complexion. The sweating also increases circulation, which helps to keep skin cells nourished and healthy. In addition to increased circulation, sweating helps cleanse your pores, so adding a regular sauna visit to your routine may help you have clearer skin.
Helps Reduce Stress
Increased circulation has many benefits, including producing a feeling of relaxation. As your body temperature rises in the heat of the room, your sympathetic nervous system becomes more active in regulating body temperature. As a result, your endocrine glands are working to help your body cope with the increased heat and sweating, which causes your mind to be more alert, perceive less pain, and improve your mood. In addition, your muscles begin to relax, making you feel like the day’s tension is melting away in the heat. To elevate the feeling of relaxation, you can meditate when you are in the sauna, helping your mind join your body in a state of total relaxation.
Eases Aches & Pains
It has long been believed that sauna bathing leads to decreased inflammation. Inflammation comes in many forms, one of which is asthma. Individuals who suffer from asthma can benefit from using the sauna before a workout as it has been shown to relax airways and loosen phlegm, leading to better respiratory performance. Arthritis is another condition that involves inflammation. Those with arthritis who use the sauna found that stiffness, fatigue, and pain are reduced immediately after sauna bathing.
All in all, the sauna can make for an excellent addition to your fitness routine. It offers numerous health benefits and an opportunity to decompress and relax at the end of your workout.