Packed with physical and mental benefits, a sauna routine can be amazing, especially in winter, when arctic temperatures can make you crave warmth anywhere you can find it. And sauna, which can be used both as a noun and as a verb, can have an incredible impact on your skin, body, and mood.
People use the sauna for different reasons, whether at home, at the spa, or in a gym locker room. In Finland and other Scandinavian countries, the sauna has an important cultural role. It is not uncommon for co-workers to bond in a sauna the same way workers in the United States can achieve happy hour, and many homes are built with a home sauna. But for many Americans, adopting a sauna routine can take a bit of practice.
You also don’t have to leave the house to enjoy the benefits of the sauna. Home sauna setups can range from around $ 100 to thousands of dollars depending on your choices. The more expensive saunas tend to be built in your home or outside. Less expensive saunas are portable tent-shaped structures. Whichever you choose, be sure to follow the setup and use instructions.
You also don’t have to be completely naked to enjoy a sauna session. “I even recommended that you be fully clothed when taking a sauna to allow the clothes to absorb the sweat,” explains Melanie Keller, ND, naturopathic doctor. “You then remove your clothes immediately after the sauna before getting up. “
Benefits of hitting the sauna
Ready to start your sauna trip? Take it easy at first.
“Start by taking a sauna a few times a week for three months,” suggests Samantha McKinney, RD, registered dietitian at Lifetime, a national fitness company with over 150 locations. You can start with about 10 or 15 minutes at a time and then increase the length of your sessions depending on your comfort level.
If you’re up to the heat, here are six benefits of using a sauna.
Helps preserve muscle mass
Not only can using a sauna clear your mind, it could potentially help you reach your fitness goals faster, McKinney says. A recent study have found that sauna use can help preserve muscle mass, as well as guard against inflammation.
Improves heart health
The sauna too Can increase cardiovascular endurance, as it can reduce your resting heart rate over time.
That said, the time spent in the sauna is not exactly the same as a traditional sweat session in the gym. Because you aren’t actually using your muscles the way you would if you were exercising, the sauna isn’t necessarily a standalone fitness benefit. However, used in conjunction with a workout plan, you may find yourself able to go harder for longer and recover faster than if you skipped the sauna.
Promotes water weight loss
Do saunas make you lose weight? While it may seem like you lost a few pounds after the session, experts say it’s about water weight, and the sauna itself is not a weight loss tool.
When should you sauna in relation to your workout? McKinney recommends either using the sauna on your days off or jumping into the sauna for a sweat session after you’ve finished your strength training. Just be sure to hydrate yourself well.
Improves the strength of the skin
Using a sauna can also be amazing for your skin, although the specifics may depend on your skin type. The heat from the sauna can help you shed dry skin cells more easily, and sweating can also lead to better circulation and increased collagen production.
Cleanses your pores
Sweating can also help clean your pores i.e. your skin may appear clearer after using the sauna. But if you suffer from a skin condition such as eczema or psoriasis, experts warn that the sauna can make your skin worse. Talk to your dermatologist before using the sauna and stop if you notice any rashes or skin conditions. Since saunas can be damp, public saunas can be a breeding ground for bacteria and mold, which could cause potential skin condition.
Helps you relax
Going to the sauna can also be a great way to unwind from the day, McKinney explains, adding that many people like to go to the sauna in the evening to disconnect from the end of the day and relax. Regardless of when you go to the sauna, it is essential to stay hydrated and refrain from drinking alcohol before your sauna session.
Risks of sauna
Of course, there are risks associated with using a sauna, especially if you do it wrong or go too often.
Because you sweat, you could be at risk for dehydration. That is why it is important to hydrate before going to the sauna, to refrain from drinking alcohol.
“Before using the sauna, make sure you are hydrated enough so that your urine is a pale yellow color,” McKinney explains. “A suggested rule of thumb is to consume 20 ounces about an hour before and continue sipping water before entering. If you are exercising beforehand, make sure you not only start your workout hydrated, but also to consume at least 16 ounces of water per hour of exercise.
McKinney adds that you can also add electrolyte powder or sip an electrolyte drink before jumping into the sauna.
You also want to pay attention to how you are feeling. If you’re dizzy or dizzy, that means it’s time to get out, McKinney says. Before entering the sauna, it may also be a good idea to discuss your plans with your doctor, especially if you have any pre-existing health issues. A systematic review study 2018You have discovered that the risks of the sauna can include low blood pressure and respiratory tract irritation, among other potential health risks.
Temporary low sperm count
There may be reasons to avoid frequent sauna visits if you are trying to conceive: Some studies have found that sauna use can reduce sperm count, although the effect is temporary.
Whether you go to the sauna at home, the gym or a spa, the experience of a sweat session should be a “sweat-free” experience that can make you feel healthier, happier and more. stronger.
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