Performance Boost: Benefits of Sauna After Workout
Are you looking to take your workout to the next level? Have you considered using a sauna after working out? This often-overlooked workout companion can provide a performance boost before and after an intense workout session.
Think about it, have you ever felt like you needed an extra push before hitting the gym? Or have you ever wished for a faster recovery after a grueling workout? Well, look no further because the sauna has got you covered. Especially after working out, the high heat from the sauna can help to increase blood flow, oxygen supply, and endorphin production, which can help improve your mood, motivation, and performance.
Let's remember to sweat! Sweating is your body's way of removing toxins and impurities, and the sauna is the perfect place to sweat it out. The heat can help to reduce muscle soreness, stiffness, and inflammation, which can help to improve muscle recovery and growth.
But that's not all. Sauna use can also help to improve your endurance, strength, and flexibility. The heat can help to improve your range of motion, which can help to make you more flexible and limber.
So grab a towel, and let's get sweating!
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. It's typically made of wood, 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. It's 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. And let's remember the safety aspect. Electric saunas don't have any open flames, so there's no risk of fire. It's perfect for apartment dwellers or people living in areas with fire restrictions.
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.
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.
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.
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. Naturally, this will allow you to recover from your workout faster and with less pain!
Full Spectrum Infrared saunas can also help improve muscle endurance. The gentle heat from your infrared sauna can help increase blood flow to the muscles and oxygen supply, improving muscle endurance and reducing fatigue. A bit like an all-natural sauna-powered energy drink! Imagine performing better and for longer just by sitting around and getting sweaty!
The heat emanating from a Full Spectrum Infrared sauna may also help reduce muscle spasms and cramps. After overusing or straining a muscle or group of muscles, it’s common to experience spasms or cramps. Cramps can also be a result of inadequate blood supply to a muscle. While stretching can effectively mitigate this, heating the area might be a better option.
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.
Is it Better to Sauna Before or After a Workout?
Ah, the age-old question of whether to use a sauna before or after a workout. Well, let me tell you, both have their advantages!
First, let's talk about using a sauna before a workout. This is perfect for those who like to warm up their muscles before hitting the gym. The heat can increase blood flow and oxygen supply to the muscles, potentially reducing muscle soreness, stiffness, and fatigue. The heat can help to increase the production of endorphins, which can help to improve your mood and motivation.
So, a sauna before a workout might be the way to go if you want a better workout. Though it's usually recommended that you first do a warm-up before you kick off a workout, be sure you don't overheat ahead of time. Ideally, a workout should include movements that activate, in a full range of motion, all the muscles that will be working in your routine, not only 'warming' the body up. If you're more sensitive to temperature changes, proceed with caution, as you may experience a quick drop in heart rate and blood pressure that can cause you to faint. As always, hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
On the other hand, let's talk about using a sauna after working out. This is perfect for those who like to recover from a workout and relax their muscles. The heat can help to increase blood flow and oxygen supply to the muscles, which can help to reduce muscle soreness, stiffness, and inflammation.
Whether you use a sauna before or after a workout is up to you and your preference. But if you want to improve your workout and muscle health, using a sauna before or after a workout might be the way to go. And remember, always stay hydrated and take it easy when using a sauna for the first time!
Benefits of Sauna After Workout
Scientific research has shown that regular sauna use can improve cardiovascular function, aid muscle recovery, and reduce pain and inflammation.
Sauna After Workout Promotes Healthy Muscle Recovery
Using a sauna after working out regularly can improve cardiovascular function by decreasing blood pressure and increasing heart rate variability. Additionally, Photobiomodulation (PBM) research has shown that sauna use can aid muscle recovery by reducing muscle soreness and inflammation and promoting muscle growth and repair through increased growth hormone production.
Saunas can relieve muscle soreness but should not be used in treating pulled muscles. Those require different treatments, such as icing, stretching, and rest. If you’ve pulled a muscle, contact your doctor for treatment.
Sauna After Workout Improves Circulation and Heart Health
The Journal of the American Medical Association found regular sauna use reduces the risk of sudden cardiac death, coronary heart disease, and overall mortality. Furthermore, sauna use has been shown to have potential benefits in treating chronic conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
With that said, sauna use is not a perfect healthcare Utopia: it can have potential health drawbacks for individuals with certain pre-existing heart conditions. For example, the high temperatures and increased heart rate during sauna use can put extra stress on the heart, which can be dangerous for those with certain heart conditions.
Individuals with high blood pressure, or hypertension, should be especially cautious when using a sauna. High temperatures can cause a temporary increase in blood pressure, which can be dangerous for those with hypertension.
Individuals with cardiovascular disease, such as heart failure or coronary artery disease, may also be at a higher risk for complications during sauna use. The increased heart rate and blood pressure can put extra stress on the heart and, in some cases, lead to an increased risk of cardiac events.
Individuals with certain heart rhythm disorders, such as atrial fibrillation, may also be at a higher risk for complications during sauna use. The high temperatures and increased heart rate can disrupt the heart's normal rhythm, leading to an increased risk of arrhythmias.
Sauna After Workout Benefits Weight Loss and Metabolism
Saunas have been scientifically proven to help with weight loss and metabolism. The high temperatures in a sauna can help increase heart rate and metabolism, which can help burn calories and fat. Heat can help to increase the production of growth hormones, which can help improve muscle mass and metabolism. So, not only will you be burning fat, but you'll also be building muscle!
And let's remember the sweating. Sweating is your body's way of removing toxins and impurities, and the sauna is the perfect place to sweat it out. The heat can help to reduce water retention, so you'll not only be losing fat, but you'll also be losing water weight.
But that's not all. Sauna use can also help to reduce stress and improve your mood, which can help to prevent overeating and emotional eating. The heat can help to improve sleep, which can help to regulate hormones and metabolism.
Sauna After Workout Increases Flexibility and Range of Motion
Have you wondered why your body feels so limber and flexible after a sauna? Well, let me explain the science behind it.
When you're in a sauna, the heat dilates your blood vessels increasing blood flow to your muscles. This increased blood flow helps to bring oxygen and nutrients to your muscles, which can help to reduce muscle soreness, stiffness, and inflammation.
The heat can also help to increase the production of endorphins, which can help to improve your mood and motivation. So, not only will your muscles feel better, but you'll also feel better.
That's not all! Sauna use can also help to improve your flexibility. The heat can help relax your muscles, making them more pliable and easier to stretch. Additionally, the heat can help improve your range of motion, which can help make you more flexible.
Sauna After Workout Builds Muscle and Burns Fat
When you're in a sauna, your body temperature rises, causing your heart rate to increase. This simulates the same cardiovascular response as if you were exercising. This increases blood flow and delivers oxygen and nutrients to your muscles. Additionally, the heat causes an increase in growth hormone and testosterone, which are both critical for muscle growth.
Another benefit of saunas is that they can aid in weight loss. When you're in a sauna, your body starts to sweat, which means you're losing water weight. 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. And as your body starts to lose water weight and burn calories, you may also begin to notice a reduction in body fat.
Regular sauna use can help increase the levels of norepinephrine in the body, a hormone that helps burn fat. The high temperatures in a sauna can help enhance your heart rate and metabolism, which can help burn calories and fat.
Sauna After Workout Increases Growth Hormones
How do you incorporate sauna sessions into your workout routine? One way is to do a light workout before entering the sauna. This will cause your body to start sweating sooner, resulting in a more intense sauna session. Another way is to do a workout after a sauna session. This will allow your muscles to relax and recover faster, aiding muscle growth.
Regular sauna use can help to increase the production of growth hormones and build muscle by elevating the body's core temperature. When the body's temperature rises, it triggers a series of physiological responses, including an increase in heart rate and blood flow. This simulates the same cardiovascular response as if you were exercising.
The increased blood flow helps to deliver oxygen and nutrients to the muscles, which is essential for muscle growth. Additionally, the heat causes an increase in growth hormone and testosterone, which are both critical for muscle growth and recovery. The pituitary gland produces growth hormones and stimulates the development and reproduction of cells in the body. It is essential for the repair of tissues, including muscles.
Unfortunately, age-related testosterone decline in men is natural, so this will prove especially valuable to discerning exercise-positive sauna users.
In short, a sauna is like a personal trainer, massage therapist, nutritionist, and physiotherapist all in one! So, give a Full Spectrum Infrared sauna a try if you want to improve your muscle health and performance!
DISCLAIMER: Always consult your doctor or health care professional before using a sauna, as they may not suit everyone.
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.
Should You Use Sauna Before or After a Workout?
A sauna can be beneficial before or after a workout, but use your discretion to determine what's best for your body type. Though it's usually recommended that you first do a warm-up before you kick off a workout, be sure you don't overheat ahead of time. Ideally, a warm-up should include movements that activate, in a full range of motion, all the muscles that will be working in your routine, not only 'warming' the body up. If you're more sensitive to temperature changes, proceed with caution, as you may experience a quick drop in heart rate and blood pressure that can cause you to faint. As always, hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!