(Natural News) Saunas are a common feature of many gyms, health clubs, and sporting facilities. They can be used to help you relax after a long workout, but saunas are much more than that. When used properly, sauna bathing can provide a wealth of health benefits.
There are many different kinds of saunas, but they typically take the form of heated rooms with temperatures ranging from 150 to 195 degrees Fahrenheit. Finnish-style saunas are considered “dry” saunas due to their low humidity level, whereas Turkish-style saunas have plenty of steam. No matter what kind of sauna you use, they will still likely have similar effects on your body. If you use saunas correctly, you will be able to reap a number of health benefits. (Related: Regular sauna bathing reduces your risk of vascular disease and mental health disorders, according to new study.)
It is important to learn your own body’s limits. The experience can be rather intense for beginners. It can take some time to get used to the extreme temperatures. If you haven’t experienced a sauna before, try starting with only five minutes. As your body learns to adjust to the heat, you can try staying for longer periods. It is recommended that you stay in the sauna room for a maximum of 20 minutes. Since the heat causes you to sweat, the loss of fluid may lead to dehydration. If you begin to feel lightheaded or have difficulty breathing, leave the sauna room immediately. Be sure to drink plenty of water before, during, and after the sauna to prevent dehydration.
Health benefits of sauna bathing after exercise
- Detoxification. Physical activity can provide multiple health benefits to the body. However, strenuous exercise and high levels of muscle exertion can result in the reactive release of oxidants. Cellular mechanisms respond to cardio-muscular stress and release free radicals. Saunas can have a detoxification effect on the body. They can enhance circulation to the surface of the skin, thereby encouraging the body’s natural detoxification process. Your body then releases the oxidant by-products and toxins through sweat. Additionally, saunas can enhance your cardiovascular, immune, and lymphatic systems to help detoxify your body.
- Muscle recovery. Certain forms of exercise, such as sprinting and weight training, often cause some level of muscle tightening. Using a sauna after a workout helps to relax muscle contraction and inflammation that usually accompanies these vigorous exercises. Releasing the tension in these tightened muscles can also help to prevent injury. They can also increase your blood flow, which brings more oxygen to the muscles and aids in muscle recovery.
- Improving heart health. Sauna bathing may have a positive impact on heart health. Some research has found that saunas can mimic the circulatory benefits of exercise. The high temperatures can raise the heart rate and help blood vessels expand. This improves the overall blood circulation in the body and helps to lower blood pressure. They may also have other cardiovascular benefits such as improving the health of cells in the heart arteries.
- Promoting mental health. The health benefits of sauna bathing extend beyond the physical. They can help improve your mental health and well-being as well. Saunas can help you to relax both physically and mentally. Studies found that people who use saunas exhibited significant improvements with their mental states, including positivity and mental clarity. Strenuous exercise can increase the production of adrenaline and stress hormones in the body. Sauna bathing can help bring these hormone levels down.
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