We’d wager that the last thing on your mind after a sweaty workout is stepping into a room filled with hot air. But believe it or not, saunas are actually a helpful part of a post-workout care routine, as elevated temperatures help promote recovery.
4 Benefits of a Post-Workout Sauna
1. Using a sauna after a workout accelerates muscle recovery.
That “burn” you feel when you exercise is your muscles shifting into overdrive. When you work out, your muscles have to work harder than they usually do. As a result, your exercise causes microscopic tears along your muscles.
When these tears heal, your body grows new muscle, making you stronger. But it also makes you sore, tender and stiff in the days after a workout.
A sauna’s benefits in this context are two-fold. For one thing, sauna use can help relax stiff muscles and relieve tension. What’s even more helpful is that saunas increase blood flow, giving your muscles more of what they need to recover and get rid of waste. One 2013 study found that a single sauna session can be enough to noticeably reduce the oxidative stress caused by workouts. This suggests that saunas can make a real difference in terms of how long recovery takes.
2. Saunas help reduce muscle pain.
Because they promote more blood flow and dilate blood vessels, saunas are great at targeting muscle pain. More blood in the area loosens tight joints. Meanwhile, a sauna’s ability to lower inflammation helps cut down on swelling that leads to muscle pain. You’ll likely step out of the sauna feeling looser and more comfortable, even if it doesn’t necessarily eliminate your soreness entirely.
3. Boosts endurance.
Some research suggests that using a sauna after workouts can increase your endurance. A study analyzing the impact of three weeks of post-exercise sauna bathing discovered that individuals who used a sauna experienced a “worthwhile enhancement of endurance.”
Researchers posit that this change might result from that increased blood flow and volume previously mentioned. Changes in plasma volume and total blood volume were noted in participants who used a sauna.
4. Saunas offer stress relief & mental health benefits.
Even a quick sauna session can be invigorating. After a long workout, few things are more satisfying than unwinding and letting your body relax. Saunas have been linked to mental health benefits like promoting better moods and reducing anxiety and symptoms of depression. Let the day’s worries melt away as you recover from your workout – just remember not to stay in too long!
Is it Better to Use a Sauna Before or After Workouts?
These benefits sound great, but is it really better to use a sauna before or after workouts? For most people, it’s easier (and more productive) to hop in your sauna after a workout. That’s because a sauna’s benefits lend themselves much better to a post-workout state – when you’re tired, sore and probably need relaxation – than before.
You might end up dehydrating yourself or overheating if you try to use a sauna before exercise. You can still experience performance-related benefits like increased endurance well after your workout ends.
No matter what, do what you can to stay safe. Too much time in your sauna causes more harm than good. You only need about 15-20 minutes of sauna time to see results.
Perhaps the biggest risk to watch out for while using your sauna is dehydration. This is especially true after a workout, where you’ll likely lose lots of hydration due to sweat. So, make sure you drink up!
Take Advantage of the Benefits of a Sauna After Workouts
Whether you’re a gym rat or like to exercise more casually, using a sauna after a workout is a great way to help yourself recover. No matter what your ideal sauna looks like, you can count on Thermasol to lead the way.
Our team can help you create your dream home sauna so that you can sit back, relax, and let the benefits roll in.
Thermasol’s mission is to help you elevate your self-care to the next level. See the difference for yourself today.