Elevate Your Fitness Journey with a Sauna

The latest buzz on TikTok is that spending a mere 20 minutes in a sauna each week can significantly decrease your risk of heart disease. This sauna trend has captured the attention of celebrities like Zac Efron, Kim Kardashian, and Lady Gaga, who are all reportedly fervent supporters. 

It may seem easy for affluent stars to endorse the wellness benefits of a luxurious amenity like this one, but let’s dive into the science behind this TikTok trend. Do saunas truly offer any health advantages, or are rumors of their regenerative powers simply adding fuel to the fire?

According to Dr. Mike Hoaglin, the medical director at Dr House, this is more than a fleeting online trend. He explains that saunas are a part of the broader concept known as whole-body thermotherapy, which has long been recognized as a traditional therapy in numerous cultures around the world. In essence, the benefits of dry heat exposure are not only real but have been acknowledged for far longer than TikTok trends starting pointing out these benefits.

What exactly are the benefits of sauna sessions?

Dr. Hoaglin says that traditional saunas subject the body to temperatures ranging from 80°C to 100°C with humidity levels of 10-20%. These sessions should last between 5 to 20 minutes. Newer infrared saunas operate at temperatures of 45-60°C.

While most research focuses on traditional saunas, the commonly touted benefit revolves around “detoxification.” In other words, there is a belief that you can “sweat it out” after a night of indulgence or a prolonged period of unhealthy eating. While this is relevant, Hoaglin believes that the real advantages of a sauna lie in its ability to enhance “hormesis,” which refers to the body’s capacity to handle short-term stresses, such as exercise. Exposure to heat and reduced oxygen in a sauna can stimulate this process, aiding in recovery and boosting overall fitness. Saunas can also help repair the structural proteins in our bodies that become damaged with age. In other words, saunas offer a hot solution to help our bodies combat the daily stresses that contribute to wear and tear. Moreover, studies suggest that regular sauna exposure can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, improve mental health, and alleviate chronic respiratory conditions.

When is the optimal time for a sauna session?

While much has been said about the health benefits of a hot bath resembling those of a sauna, it is worth noting that the timing of sauna usage, like bath time, is a matter of personal preference and individual goals. Some people prefer using heat to warm up before a workout, enhancing circulation and loosening muscles. Others appreciate the natural healing processes activated by heat to aid in recovery.

However, it is worth mentioning that infrared light is believed to increase melatonin production and promote sleep. Therefore, if you have an infrared sauna, a session before bed may provide additional benefits, while a pre-workout session might leave you feeling drowsy.

Can you overdo sauna sessions?

As with anything else, there are risks associated with heat exposure. Even if you’re an athlete trying to cut weight for a weigh-in, you need to be cautious of dehydration in the sauna. Misuse can be “deadly,” warns Hoaglin, emphasizing the importance of taking it easy initially, starting with no more than 5-10 minutes. Those with low blood pressure should be cautious about an increased risk of fainting spells.

There’s another aspect to consider: if male fertility is a concern, it’s worth noting that heat exposure can reduce sperm counts. However, these counts typically return to normal after six months of avoiding saunas and hot tubs.

What's the ideal duration of exposure?

If you’re fortunate enough to have access to sauna facilities at your gym, you might be thinking you’ve struck gold. However, there are two things to keep in mind. Firstly, Hoaglin suggests that the optimum number of sauna sessions per week falls between one to three sessions, or up to 12 sessions per month.

In other words, consistency is key, and TikTok estimates might be underestimating the frequency required.

Secondly, using the sauna shouldn’t serve as an excuse to skip your workout and head straight for the wooden bench. Consider your sauna session as a post-workout treat.

Find Out Which Sauna is Right for You

Incorporating regular sauna sessions into your fitness routine can yield remarkable benefits for both your physical and mental well-being. Saunas have been celebrated for their ability to enhance recovery, boost cardiovascular health, and promote overall fitness. If you’re intrigued by the idea of integrating saunas into your lifestyle, Ohio Pools and Spas is your go-to destination. Discover the perfect sauna tailored to your needs by visiting this page. Take the first step towards a rejuvenating sauna experience and embark on a transformative fitness journey. Your ideal sauna awaits!


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