So, you’re looking to hit the sauna after a workout? Of course, most health clubs offer sauna facilities, and saunas are relaxing after a brutal workout.
But do saunas offer any benefits? The short answer is yes. Not only is the sauna remarkably relaxing, but you’ll enjoy various incredible physical and mental benefits!
The Mayans used heat therapy after exercise thousands of years ago, and let’s face it – the Mayans were smart and understood health.
Sauna usage can help you achieve the following:
- Better athletic performance
- Short-term weight loss
- Faster muscle recovery
- Mental relaxation
- More robust immune systems
Now it’s time to show how!
Increased Athletic Performance
Many people don’t realize that heat bathing in a sauna can improve athletic performance. A study in New Zealand found that male-long distance runners increased the time they could by 32 percent after using the sauna.
That’s excellent if you’re a triathlete or marathon runner. Furthermore, a sauna after your workout can improve cardiovascular health. That’s because a sauna session can increase your heart rate, leading to an increase in diastolic and systolic blood pressure.
In addition, researchers found the same results during a physical workout on an exercise bike between 60 to 100 watts. Your blood pressure also decreases after an intense sauna session, leading to a lower resting heart rate and better athletic performance.
So although you may feel slightly lazy after a sauna session, you could grow some solid athletic results. Furthermore, using the sauna can decrease cardiovascular disease. That prevents many athletic performance issues, fatigue, and potentially severe health risks.
It’s also essential to stay healthy for as long as possible. As you get older, your health and fitness matter more and more. Did you know that sauna usage can increase longevity? Research from a study of 2,315 men from Finland over 20 years found men who use the sauna four to seven times per week have lower mortality rates. So, when you enter the sauna after a workout, you’re increasing your longevity, which helps to promote lifelong athletic performance.
Without a doubt, your calorie levels are crucial for diet and weight loss success. Did you know a sauna can help you lose weight and gain athletic performance? Research has found that saunas can help increase weight loss. However, most importantly, sauna weight loss is often fluid loss. You’re most likely going to gain the weight back once you eat and drink plenty of fluids. Nonetheless, if you rest in the sauna after a workout, you can lose up to 5 pounds of body weight.
The sauna is perfect for MMA fighters and boxers that need to cut weight before a fight, and the sauna is also ideal for any other athletic pursuits which require light bodyweight before the competition. Of course, if you eat 5000 calories per day and sit in a sauna, you’re not going to lose weight. But, if you need to drop weight for athletic competition, it’s an excellent short-term option for the human body.
Muscle recovery is imperative after any strenuous workout. Yet, did you know a sauna session can help with recovery? The heat from a sauna helps promote muscle growth by lowering muscle protein catabolism and increasing insulin sensitivity. If you have increased insulin sensitivity, it’s easier to regulate and grow lean body mass.
Furthermore, sauna use can push the circulatory system to increase blood circulation around the body. As a result, a sauna will carry oxygen-rich blood to your damaged or sore muscles. Most people know about the positive impact of a massage after a workout because it helps blood flow to damaged muscles, and post-workout sauna sessions can encourage better blood flow.
Therefore, you’ll get a faster recovery if you enjoy a post-workout sauna, and it doesn’t stop there. The robust temperature of a sauna can warm up your muscles and bring heat to your joints. In addition, the heat will relax the muscles and help them recover. Also, a 1988 study found that saunas contributed to an increase in growth hormones. That’s obviously excellent for muscle recovery after a hard workout.
Another superb and prevalent method is to use an ice bath with the sauna. You can take a quick swim in an ice bath along with sauna sessions and use heat therapy (otherwise known as hyperthermia) to repair damaged proteins and boost muscle recovery.
So, if you’re feeling cramps, tension, soreness, or sensitivity – why not spend 10 minutes in the sauna after exercise? The sauna will boost your next athletic performance.
Strenuous exercise can give you excellent mental relaxation because of the release of endorphins. Have you ever wondered why you feel sleepy after a workout? Nonetheless, a sauna can also relax you after your hard workout and encourage you to fall asleep. It doesn’t matter what your athletic performance is – you’ll need to enter a state of relaxation to perform at your best.
A sauna is a wonderful option if you want to relax after a hard workout. But did you know that a sauna can help to regulate cortisol levels through mental relaxation? Cortisol can cause issues with your sleeping, which will affect your athletic performance. Yet, regular sauna usage can help regulate that.
Moreover, a sauna is ideal for relaxing your muscles, which will also increase your mental relaxation. Is there anything worse than trying to relax with sore, tender muscles? Studies have found that a sauna session helps alleviate anxiety, depression, and stress. These three things alone will hamper any athlete’s athletic performance and decrease the efficiency of exercise.
Saunas are also excellent for clearing your skin. That’s because saunas encourage your skin to clean itself. Although better skin doesn’t directly impact your athletic performance, it can definitely improve your mental health, self-esteem, and inner confidence. In turn, that will leave you mentally stronger for your athletic performance.
Increased immune system
Over the past 18 months, the COVID-19 pandemic has made us focus on health and the immune system more. Did you know a sauna can boost your immune system? Let’s be honest; if there’s anything that will hamper your fitness gains, health, and athletic improvement, it’s getting sick.
However, to get the most significant immune system gains, you’ll need to use the sauna correctly after a workout. If you use the sauna by mixing your session with heat and cold air (many people like to use ice pools after the sauna), you’ll help your body become accustomed to sudden changes in temperatures outside.
In addition, sauna usage will increase the production of white blood cells. White blood cells are critical players in your overall immune system by moving through your body and looking for microbes (better known as viruses, fungi, and parasites.)
Moreover, the sauna will raise your body’s temperature by 1-2 degrees celsius, which can act as an artificial fever that will raise your body’s defense mechanisms. Of course, you may worry about sharing a sauna with other people and catching sickness? that could happen – but you’re also likely to boost your immune system at the same time and your overall health by using a sauna.
The sauna is an all-around excellent post-workout option. Not only will you feel relaxed, but you’ll also boost your immune system, clear your mind of stress, and increase overall athletic performance.
Science proves that sauna usage will boost your overall health and act as a medicine for various health issues, such as depression, stress, and so much more!
Make sure your gym or health club includes a sauna when you purchase your membership. Or build your own using one of our outdoor sauna kits, and enjoy all these benefits in the comfort of your own backyard.