Saunas have proven themselves to be advantageous for your mind and body for thousands of years and have been used frequently already by the ancient cultures of the Greek and Roman Empires.
You are probably already aware of most sauna benefits, but did you know that you can boost your recovery after a workout when adding visits to saunas to your workout routine?
Below we will provide you with an extensive list of the sauna benefits after working out and guide you through all the dos and dont’s.
HOW TO USE A SAUNA AFTER A WORKOUT TO BOOST RECOVERY?
It is important that you do not overexert yourself when you are going to the sauna after exercising. Your body has already been in high-performance mode and you might have strained your muscles quite a bit. So being aware of how you are feeling and whether you are fit enough for another sweat session that increases your heart rate is very important.
If you are in the right condition, you can use a sauna for your benefit and to aid your muscle in recovering. Here are the steps you should take for sauna bathing after a workout:
- Shower after your workout to cleanse your body from sweat and any other possible dirt
- Use a towel or bathing suit in a public sauna to cover yourself and, if necessary, another towel to sit or lie on
- Keep your sauna visit short and sweet, do not overexert yourself. I.e. if you are starting to get a headache or feel dizzy, you should probably end your sweat session.
- Make sure you drink plenty of water, tea, or other rehydrating drinks as you have lost a lot of your body’s water weight through sweating. Staying hydrated is important to flush out any toxins in your body and to stay healthy and fit.
HOW LONG SHOULD YOU BE IN A SAUNA POST WORKOUT?
As mentioned, you should not overexert yourself and rather use the sauna after your workout for relaxation. Therefore, it is highly recommended to keep it to 15 to 20 minutes per sauna interval with at least a decent five-minute break in between sessions if you would like to do several.
If you are starting to feel dizzy or unwell, you should quit your session overall.
THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF USING A SAUNA AFTER A WORKOUT
RELAXES AND ALLEVIATES MUSCLE PAIN
While working out, the strenuous movements and weight training cause tiny tears in your muscle, which creates inflammation that results in the feeling of muscle soreness.
During your gym session, your body also builds up lactic acid, which can add to the feeling of soreness and stiffness in your joints.
A visit to the sauna can aid with these symptoms as the high temperatures assist in relaxing the muscles and softening the joints. The sweat and increased heart rate lead to better blood circulation and flushes toxins such as the lactic acid out of your system, relieving the pain.
ASSISTS WITH MUSCLE RECOVERY
Spending time in the sauna post-workout aids in increasing blood circulation and delivering oxygen-rich blood to your depleted muscles, which enhances the recovery of your muscles.
The heat will assist in relieving muscle tension, which makes them relax better and increase your flexibility.
Many athletes are using the beneficial effects of saunas to boost performance in the long run.
As your blood flow enhances, your blood volume also increases which does not only benefit people struggling with cardiovascular health conditions but also with a lower blood volume.
Highly oxygenated blood aids in athletic performance and having more stamina for the next workout.
Sauna time will assist you in stress relief and a lot of people enjoy the feeling of elevation after their sauna session, which is created from a natural high due to increased blood flow and oxygen supply throughout your body.
The heat causes your brain to release endorphins, which are responsible for a positive feeling and act as natural painkillers, which in turn aids in alleviating the feeling of soreness after a workout.
STIMULATE MUSCLE GROWTH
It does not just aid in muscle renewal but also actively assists in making your muscles grow stronger and bigger. During a sauna session, your body is triggered to release a growth hormone and releases heat shock proteins, which assist in muscle recovery and build-up.
MAY IMPROVE LONGEVITY
Several studies are arguing that regular visits to the sauna (two to three times a week) can significantly increase your overall health and thus reduces your overall mortality by eliminating several ailments such as high blood pressure, bad circulation and relieving overall stress.
All these symptoms increase the likelihood of premature mortality, whereas it has been proven that people’s longevity increased significantly if they were more stress-free and had overall better body health.
STRENGTHEN THE IMMUNE SYSTEM
As sweating causes your body to release toxins and increases the activity of the lymphatic system, your immune system gets a boost while being in the sauna.
The increased levels of oxygen along with the heat also assist in fighting off inflammation and infections in the body, which are naturally borne in low-oxygen environments.
CLEANSES THE SKIN
A good sweat releases all unnecessary debris and unwanted toxins in your body and especially your pores, which creates a better-looking complexion.
The increased blood flow through your body can also assist in removing dead skin cells and making your skin look plumper and thus more youthful.
IS A SAUNA HEALTHY AFTER A WORKOUT?
The hot temperatures release muscle tightness, aid in relaxation of your body and mind, and can even assist in losing body fat, and ultimately weight loss when combined with the correct exercise and diet. Which overall can have healthy effects on your body.
As always, you should consult with your health professional first about whether sauna use post-workout is recommended for you specifically.
IS IT SAFE TO USE A SAUNA BEFORE A WORKOUT?
If its right before your gym session then you should refrain from sauna use before going to the gym. There are several risks that can cause your gym session to have negative effects on your body and health if you decide to go to the sauna beforehand:
- After going to the sauna, your body will be a bit dehydrated, which can cause you to feel exhausted. In the worst case, you can risk overheating and causing your body to dehydrate further if you workout after sauna, which can have some detrimental effects.
- The heat causes your muscles to relax, which may make you feel tired and ready for a nap- not the best pre workout.
- It’s important to note that everyone is different, you may feel that the sauna invigorates you, warms your muscles up and prepares you for anything. As long as you hydrate well during your sauna, there shouldn’t be any issues.
ARE THERE ANY HEALTH RISKS WITH USING A SAUNA AFTER A WORKOUT?
Depending on how much you have exerted your body during exercise, you might trigger a heat stress response in your body, which can have adverse effects on your health.
On top of that, dehydration is probably one of the biggest risk factors when it comes to visiting saunas post-workout; therefore, you should make sure to drink plenty of water before and after. Infrared saunas are usually less hot than traditional ones, so why not consider booking an infrared sauna appointment after your workout?
There are a plethora of benefits of sauna bathing, to begin with. But it is also a wonderful aid in getting the maximum out of your workout session and building performance endurance on top of that.
If done right, a sauna works wonders for your muscle recovery and will assist you in reaching your workout goals sustainably.