You see the sign while all of the older guys in little white towels head into the room that many don’t frequent; the sauna room. It’s a little daunting from the outside and even more so from the view inside the room, but can using the sauna after you workout actually be beneficial to your body? Sure it can help you sweat, but what else does sitting in 150+ degree heat for half an hour actually do for you? Let’s dive into the benefits and see if you need to be switching gyms to find one with a sauna.
There are various ways that you end up with toxins in your body. From the constant build-up of lactic acid from pounding the weights during your gym sessions, to eating some not-so-healthy foods, it is pretty much impossible to go through life avoiding ever putting toxins in your body.
Getting a massage or doing some self-myofascial release can help alleviate some of these, but sweating constantly like you do in a dry heat atmosphere is even better for removing toxins. This allows the body to rid these toxins naturally and with little to no pain.
Aids Weight Loss
If you’re looking to lose some additional pounds before your up and coming Christmas party or you’re trying to get photo-shoot ready, hit up the sauna and watch the fat melt off your body. After working out, your body is already in a caloric deficit, so what better time to continue the fat burning than right afterwards in the human oven.
It works by increasing the body’s metabolic rate, as a result of the extreme heat. This forces the body to work harder by increasing the metabolism to keep the inner core temperature steady. It’s no surprise that the sauna is a very popular way of losing an extra couple of pounds. You just have to sit there and let the pounds sweat off you!
Are you feeling tired and worn down, like your body’s just undergone a beating? Your body is undergoes an incredible amount of stress and tension, whether this be mental stress from your daily life at work or college, or it could due to the physical stress you put your body under during your gym routine.
Spending some time in the sauna can be a great recovery tool. Using the sauna is a great way relieve tight muscles by allowing the body to become more relaxed and this leads to the relaxing of overworked muscles. Just like when your body is cold before a workout and needs a proper warm-up to keep from injury, ensuring your muscles are relaxed and not tight post-workout will allow for much faster recovery. Similarly to the way a sauna helps to extract toxins from the body, the build-up of lactic acid can be reduced by improved blood flow to your recently worked muscles and this can speed up recovery time.
Ever been in the midst of a heated competition or maybe just a demanding outdoor workout? What better way to practice breathing techniques in the heat than while soaking it up in the sauna! An excellent technique used by many collegiate and professional sports teams who play in the southern regions, is to have the athletes endure a heat they are not used to can help them to actually breathe better during game time. And with better breathing comes better blood flow to and from muscles resulting in a smaller chance of cramping or injury.
Although you may be thinking that everything about the sauna is all positive, you do have to be careful to not overdo it. Using a sauna means that you’ll be using sweat as your primary source of weight loss and recovery, and this means that dehydration can be a great concern. Larger amounts of water need to be consumed throughout the day and especially before and after a sauna session.
Besides just dehydration, the body may not be used to this amount of direct heat so heat exhaustion and dizziness can be side effects as well. The best thing to do is to discuss with your primary care physician and be sure to start off for just a few minutes rather than sitting for half an hour on your first go at it. This will allow your body to become more used to the intense heat and you can extend the amount of time you spend in the sauna slowly.
It is also worth remembering that after your session you would not have eaten for anywhere between 1-2 hours (depending on how long you’ve worked out for), and it is important to fuel your body with the right nutrition to aid recovery. So before you get in the sauna it would be a good idea to have a protein shake to help your recovery and growth of muscle mass as you sit in the sauna. Fueling your body with the right nutrients will right after your workout will help stop making you feel hungry and can reduce the chances of dizziness that comes from not eating for an extended period of time. Why not try Impact Whey Protein, which makes the perfect post workout shake.
The bottom line is that sitting in a sauna can help improve your overall health goals, but should be used with caution if you’re inexperienced. Use the sauna as a tool to help flush the body of rotten toxins and alleviate body soreness. You can keep the sauna as a tool after you lift or run to work on a better cardiovascular system and better lung capability as well as to be used to assist in more weight loss. When used correctly, the sauna is a great way to end a killer workout session!