Sauna After Workout: 8 Benefits You Can't Ignore

Sauna After Workout

Have you considered using a sauna after working out?

Though completing an intense workout can make you feel like a champion, it can also feel like you’ve been run over by a truck. Sore muscles and painful joints are not fun. That's where a sauna shines along with many other benefits whether you're using the one at the gym or an at home sauna.

Sauna Benefits After Workout

  1. Muscle Recovery
  2. Increased Endurance and Performance
  3. Builds Muscle Mass and Burns Fat
  4. Increased Circulation
  5. Detoxification
  6. Stress Reduction
  7. Improved Cardiovascular Performance
  8. Immune System Boost

Promotes Healthy Muscle Recovery

Healthy muscle recovery after exercise is one of the many sauna benefits regardless of whether you are utilizing an infrared sauna or a traditional sauna.

After working out, your muscles will likely be sore and fatigued. Though these effects can make you mildly uncomfortable, they can also impair mobility if the exercises are too intense.

Think of the last time you winced while going down the stairs after doing squats.

Soreness happens because chemicals like lactic acid build up in the muscles.

When you jump into a sauna, like the Bergamo Infrared Sauna, the body warms up due to the heat. When this happens, blood vessels dilate so more blood flows to the muscles and helps eliminate the chemicals that cause swelling and inflammation. 

footballers Cristiano Ronaldo and Jose Semedo in the sauna

American surfer Laird Hamilton sweats it out in a sauna

My husband hurt himself while working out and felt a lot of pain. After hopping in the sauna he felt much much better. Cherise Zuck, Verified Customer, March 2023

Increases Endurance and Performance

Individuals who use saunas like the Cardoba Full-Spectrum Infrared Sauna post-exercise can exercise longer, before feeling tired.

Moreover, they can perform better. In one study post-exercise sauna users increased their running speed by 4% compared to those who didn’t, while another study realized increased cycling power by 5%.

Let’s dig into why this happens.

The heat from the sauna creates stressful conditions for your body to maintain its core temperature and fluid balance.

As a result, your body works harder to adjust by pumping blood more.

Stressful sauna conditions mimic what your body experiences while exercising. More oxygen is delivered to your muscles during exercise by pumping more blood.

Naturally, more oxygen means less build-up of lactic acid which improves exercise tolerance.

According to Dr. Rhonda Patrick, increased blood flow reduces your body’s dependence on local glycogen stores—which are usually quickly depleted—by 40-50%.

One way to support improved performance is to incorporate yoga while in the sauna, as it improves physical fitness.

footballer Benjamin Mendy in an infrared sauna

It has greatly improved our overall health by reducing post-workout aches and pain from arthritis. David H., Verified Customer, June 2023

Builds Muscle Mass and Burns Fat

Perhaps you’re looking to build muscle mass and burn fat? Using a sauna after a workout can help you do that too.

The heat from the sauna stimulates the growth of new cells in the muscles. That’s not all. It increases the number of heat shock proteins that prevent muscle damage.

Additionally, the heat causes your body to burn more calories to cool itself down. This means that even while sitting, your body still burns calories.

As your body starts to lose water weight and burn calories, you may also begin to notice a reduction in body fat.

Joe Rogan sweating out in the sauna

It helps when I just feel sore all over and can't seem to get relief. It was well worth it! Kate, Verified Customer, April 2023

Different Types Of Saunas

Wood Burning Saunas

First, we have the classic Finnish sauna. This is the OG of saunas, the one that started it all.

Typically made of wood, it’s heated with a wood-burning stove, and the temperature can reach up to 200°F.

It's perfect for those old-school-inclined sauna enthusiasts who want a traditional experience and don't mind breaking a sweat.

Electric (Traditional) Saunas

Ah, the electric sauna! This traditional bad boy is like the Tesla of saunas. It's sleek, modern, and environmentally friendly (no more chopping wood, yay!).

Instead of a wood-burning stove, it uses electricity to heat the sauna—perfect for those who want a sauna experience but want to avoid the hassle of chopping wood or the smell of smoke. It heats up fast, so you can be sweating in no time.

It's also great for people who like to customize their sauna experience.

With an electric sauna, you can set the temperature to your liking and even control it with your phone.

SunRay Saunas Westlake Luxury Traditional Sauna

Infrared Saunas

At last, we have the infrared sauna. Two of the most popular infrared saunas are far infrared and full spectrum.

Both are perfect for those who like their saunas a bit more futuristic and milder.

Rather than heating the air, infrared saunas use infrared light to warm your body directly, so the air temperature in the sauna usually sits around 140°F.

It's great for people with sensitive skin, skin conditions, or respiratory issues.

The infrared sauna is a modern improvement on the ancient, classic design with functionality that varies substantially from traditional methods.

For example, infrared saunas use infrared light to send heat deep into the body fascia rather than heating the air inside the sauna.

Dynamic Saunas Cardoba Infrared Sauna

What Is A Far Infrared Sauna?

Far infrared saunas use far infrared light (as opposed to mid or near-infrared) to heat the body directly, making it gentler and more comfortable than traditional saunas.

The heat produced by a far infrared sauna is typically more pleasant and less intense. The temperature typically ranges from 110-130°F, much more bearable than the 200°F of a traditional sauna.

It's perfect for people who want to sweat but don't want to feel like they're in a furnace. A far infrared sauna is like the Goldilocks of saunas—not too hot, not too humid, but just right.

Dynamic Saunas Bellagio Far Infrared Sauna

What Is A Full-Spectrum Infrared Sauna?

If you’re looking to get the benefits of the far, mid, and near spectrums of infrared light, look no further than the almighty full-spectrum infrared sauna.

Full spectrum infrared saunas use a combination of far, mid, and near-infrared light to heat the body directly, making it a perfect option for anyone looking to improve their workout routine.

Dynamic Saunas Santiago Full Spectrum Infrared Sauna

How Do Full Spectrum Infrared Saunas Impact Muscles?

The heat in a full-spectrum infrared sauna can help to increase blood flow to the muscles. This can help to:

  • Reduce muscle soreness, stiffness, and inflammation
  • Improve muscle endurance
  • Reduce fatigue
  • Reduce muscle spasms and cramps

During a sauna session, blood vessels relax and dilate. The increase in blood flow reduces tension in the joints and ligaments, subsequently reducing inflammation and swelling in even the sorest of muscle groups.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is It Better To Sauna Before Or After A Workout?

Both have their advantages, so it depends on your goals.

If you’d like a better workout, jumping into the sauna before hitting the gym will warm up your muscles so you’ll have better flexibility and range of motion.

On the other hand, using a sauna after working out reduces muscle soreness, stiffness, and inflammation.

How Often Can I Use the Sauna for Post-Workout Recovery?

You can use the sauna about 4 times a week for post-workout recovery.

Even if you’re in the sauna for only 30 minutes after working out, you’ll still feel better than if you didn’t use the sauna at all.

You can stay longer if you want to, as long as it remains comfortable and you hydrate well.

Are There Any Risks of Using the Sauna After Intense Exercise?

Yes, there’s a risk of dehydration when you use the sauna after an intense exercise.

During intense exercise, you’ll sweat a lot which can cause dehydration. The sauna also causes sweating. If you’re dehydrated, this can cause heat stress and in extreme incidences, heat stroke.

Therefore, it’s important to take water to replace what’s lost through sweating. Ensure you hydrate before, during, and after your workout session.

Does Using the Sauna Post-Exercise Improve Flexibility and Mobility?

Yes. Using the sauna after exercising improves blood flow to the muscles which means that oxygen is supplied faster to repair muscle tears and soreness.

Since this means you’ll recover quickly, you’ll be able to stretch freely (without pain). 

This article is independently written by Sarah Lopes. All opinions given are hers. Sarah has a Master's Degree in Health Psychology with a concentration in Mind-Body Medicine and has been a Registered Yoga Instructor since 2009. Her passion for health and wellness began as a child and has deeply rooted in her 20 years as a working professional in the field.

Author’s Note: Updated on January 23, 2024, to include a clear discussion of the benefits of using a sauna after a workout including promoting muscle recovery, increasing endurance, and building muscle mass. Included an FAQ section.

Wes McMahon

Wes McMahon, is the founder of Sun Valley Saunas and a seasoned ski town sauna enthusiast. In early 2021, Wes transitioned from being an attorney and sauna aficionado in Sun Valley, Idaho, to founding Sun Valley Saunas. His deep appreciation for the Finnish sauna tradition has helped him understand and select high-quality, hand-built saunas for customers throughout North America. Combined with his understanding of the therapeutic and communal benefits of sauna culture, he advocates for the wellness practices that saunas can bring to your overall health. Got questions? Get in touch by calling 1-855-963-5665 or

Important: The information provided in our articles about saunas and related topics is intended for general informational and educational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult your healthcare practitioner before using saunas, especially if you have pre-existing health conditions or are pregnant. Individual health needs vary, and what benefits one person may not be suitable for another.


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