Ever wondered why so many gyms have saunas? It’s not just a great way to unwind after a workout, warm up in winter, or pretend you’re exercising while actually sweating away your worries in a wooden box. The sauna has a plethora of health benefits that can greatly benefit your athletic performance.
And when you’re trying to become the most powerful, fast, and explosive version of yourself, anything that gives you an advantage is worth trying.
Intrigued? Grab your water bottle, wrap yourself up in a towel, and get ready to learn (and sweat!). Warning: you may just feel compelled to buy your own home sauna afterwards— not that we’d blame you!
Sauna Is a Positive Stressor
Just like exercise, sauna causes stress to the body. But this isn’t a bad thing.
When the body encounters a stressor, it responds. In the case of heat stress caused by a sauna, your skin and core temperature are raised, your heart beats faster, your blood flow is directed to the skin (causing sweating), and heat shock proteins are increased.
But there’s more to it than just getting hot and sweaty. All of these stress responses result in a whole bunch of pretty awesome health benefits, including reduced inflammation and cell repair.
Basically, when you sauna, you send signals to your body to repair and regenerate— both of which are essential to recovering from an intense exercise regimen. Pretty awesome, right?
Sauna Mimics Exercise
Hate doing cardio? Maybe you should skip the elliptical and hit the sauna instead. Okay, so it’s not exactly the same. But saunas actually do have similar cardiovascular benefits as exercise.
The heat stress response mentioned above occurs during both sauna and exercise, but there are also some incredible cardiovascular effects. A 2019 study found some striking similarities between a 25-minute sauna session and moderate physical exercise, including lowered blood pressure and heart rate.
That’s not to say you should skip the cardio in favour of the sauna. But it’s probably beneficial to do a quick sauna session rather than sitting on the couch all day.
Sauna Increases Joint Mobility
Whether you’re a runner or heavy lifter, reducing joint pain and stiffness is essential to performing at your peak and even preventing injury. While regular mobility work and a healthy diet are essential to reducing inflammation and keeping joints moving smoothly, the sauna might just be your secret weapon to promoting joint mobility.
Sauna use has been shown to reduce joint pain and stiffness in people with autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis. Not to mention the anti-inflammatory effects that can be so invaluable to recovering from a tough training session. Post-workout sauna, anyone?
Sauna Can Enhance Endurance
The sauna can do a lot more for your body than enhance recovery and improve certain health markers. It may actually heighten your overall athletic performance.
Two particular studies on male and female athletes showed promising results in terms of both cardiovascular benefits and endurance. Male runners experienced improved running speeds after three weeks of post-training sauna. A study involving female athletes wearing suits that mimicked the heat stress of a sauna reported reduced cardiovascular strain, which could lead to to improved training endurance.
In other words, those intense 20-minute sauna sessions could translate to a serious advantage in the gym.
Ready to invest in your athletic performance? Check out our range of infrared saunas today and get ready to sweat!