Stretch in sauna
July 05, 2024

5 Reasons Why You Need to Add a Sauna to Your Fitness Routine

Muscle Recovery, Fitness

For anyone who loves working out and living healthily, then the idea of “detoxifying the body” is definitely a known concept. You may have tried some cleanses or believe that sweating alone is enough. Turns out, you might be forgetting an important step in your fitness routine: visiting the sauna. Saunas come with multiple benefits, but today we’re going to discuss five enticing reasons why you need to visit a sauna.

What is a Sauna?

A sauna, by definition, comes from an ancient Finnish word for ‘bathhouse’ and describes a small room or building where dry or wet heat sessions are experienced. A sauna may also be an establishment comprised of one or more of these facilities. The room is typically heated to between 70 to 100 degrees Celsius (or 158 to 212 degrees Fahrenheit), and the relative humidity is usually between 10 to 20 percent. During a visit to the sauna, the temperature of the skin rises to about 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit), which provokes heavy sweating. The heart rate accelerates as the body attempts to keep cool.

Though this may not sound like the most healthy condition, a sauna is a truly relaxing, tranquil experience.

What Are the Types of Saunas?

There are several varieties of saunas out there, some with cultural roots. The main types you will often hear about include:

  • Wood burning. These saunas are usually low humidity and high in temperature because wood is used to heat the room and rocks.
  • Infrared room. Special lamps are used to heat a person’s body, not the entire room. Infrared saunas run around 60 degrees Celsius, which is cooler than other sauna types.
  • Electrically heated. Similar to wood-burning saunas, the temperatures are high but the humidity is low.
  • Steam room. Though these are not traditional saunas, the effects are closely related. Steam rooms have high humidity and moist heat.

A few examples of cultural saunas:

  • Turkish bath (or hammam).
  • Russian steam bath (or banya).
  • Finnish sauna. The most popular type of Finnish sauna is one with dry heat. Many people have saunas in their city apartment which use electricity instead of smoke, which is still popular in other countries around Europe.

Now that you know some sauna variations, it is time to talk about the benefits of using a sauna.

The Benefits of Saunas for Athletic Performance

Increased Hormone Production

One of the biggest benefits that athletes gain from the sauna is the elevated levels of natural growth hormone production. It was found that sauna sessions between 15-20 minutes in length, at a temperature between 80 to 100 degrees Celsius increased the level of growth hormone by 2-5 fold. This level persisted even after the sauna session was finished. The other plus is that exercise and hyperthermia have a synergistic relationship, meaning that a higher heat increases growth hormone production. So, if you increase your core temperature while working out, and then you decide to sit in the sauna for 15 minutes, you are creating substantial gains.

Cardiovascular Improvements

Some of the best-known research about far infrared (FIR) saunas was from 2009. The research found that FIR saunas may help normalize blood pressure and treat congestive heart failure. Another way saunas help with improving circulation has to do with the heat. When the body warms up in a sauna, the blood vessels dilate and the heart rate increases (to almost 150 beats per minute). This increases overall circulation, which helps transport nutrients and oxygen throughout the body.

Lastly, saunas play a role in hyperthermic conditioning, or increased plasma volume and blood flow to the heart. The result is decreased cardiovascular strain during vigorous exercise.

Lowered Stress Levels

After a workout, the body is still revved. Pair that with other elements of life that stress people out, and you have a system that could be approaching adrenal fatigue. Saunas help the body switch off the “fight or flight” mode by coaxing it into a parasympathetic state, allowing for the body to de-stress, rest, and heal. Also, when stress is lowered, so is cortisol.

Discover Your Sauna

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WRITTEN BY: Sunlighten

Shining light on infrared technology, Sunlighten® is the #1 choice for personalized infrared light treatments. Since 1999, we have been committed to innovating wellness products and services that empower our customers to improve their quality of life. Our patented SoloCarbon® technology rejuvenates the body by delivering the highest dose of infrared energy to the body - proven up to 99% effective. Our technological innovations are fueled by our passion to make a difference. And we are building a global community of businesses, consumers, and trusted experts to support each other along the way and make the world a healthier, happier place.

Sunlighten saunas are not a medical device as defined by Section 201(h) of the Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act. Sunlighten provides general information relating to various medical conditions for informational purposes only and is not meant to be a substitute for advice provided by a doctor or other qualified health care professional. Please consult with your physician regarding diagnosis or treatment.