Fitting in regular exercise can be quite a challenge in the search for a healthy lifestyle. If the gym or a run isn’t always feasible, a unique alternative worth considering is “sauna training.” Sauna workouts offer a novel blend of the traditional sauna experience and physical activity. This unconventional approach presents a time-efficient method to burn calories and stimulate your metabolism.
Now, how to seamlessly integrate sauna use into your workout routine. Is it safe, and how will it impact your fitness goals? Let’s delve into the details and uncover everything you need about sauna training.
Sauna training involves using a small room or building to make you sweat through dry or wet heat. Originating in Finland over two thousand years ago, this tradition is firmly ingrained in their cultural heritage.
Boosting your body temperature, saunas offer numerous health advantages that can significantly increase your strength training routine. Now, let’s explore why adding a sauna session to your fitness journey can be a complete game-changer.
Getting Ready for Sauna Training
Embarking on sauna training as part of your fitness routine is fantastic. Yet, before diving into intense exercises in the sauna, it’s crucial to ready yourself for this innovative approach.
Health Professional Consultation
Before starting sauna training, consult a healthcare professional. They can assess if sauna workouts are suitable for you, especially crucial for those with heart issues, asthma, high blood pressure, and pregnant individuals. Ensure your body is ready for the heat with professional guidance.
Selecting the Right Sauna
Saunas come in various types, like infrared, traditional, and steam saunas, each with advantages and disadvantages.
- Infrared saunas utilize infrared light to warm your body, offering deep tissue relief and aiding muscle recovery.
- On the other hand, traditional saunas, like the Almost Heaven Rainelle 4-Person Indoor Sauna, heat the air using wood or electricity, providing intense heat that improves blood circulation and boosts metabolism. Traditional saunas can also enhance respiratory function and lung capacity, benefiting exercise performance.
When choosing a sauna for sauna training, consider your fitness goals and health needs. A traditional sauna may be a good starting point if you’re a beginner. An infrared sauna could be a suitable option for those looking to sweat and burn calories.
Suit Up Right
Wearing the right clothes is crucial for sauna training. Opt for loose and breathable attire to promote air circulation, reduce moisture buildup, and facilitate efficient cooling down. It’s also essential to consider your activity level and ensure your workout clothes allow unrestricted movement.
Maintaining proper hydration is vital for peak performance during a sauna workout. Sweating releases toxins and leads to losing essential minerals and electrolytes, potentially causing dehydration, dizziness, and lightheadedness.
Severe dehydration can have serious consequences, including low blood pressure, seizures, stroke, and hypovolemic shock in extreme cases. To prevent this, stay well-hydrated by drinking ample water before, during, and after your sauna session to replenish lost fluids. Consider adding electrolyte-enhanced beverages like Gatorade or coconut water to maintain a balanced mineral level.
Sauna Training Benefits
Muscle Relaxation and Endorphin Release in Sauna Training
After your workout, taking a few minutes for sauna training helps calm both your mind and muscles, thanks to the warmth from the bathing session. The sauna’s high heat enhances blood circulation, ensuring more oxygen reaches your body. This, in turn, speeds up the replacement of tired cells. Additionally, the heat triggers the release of endorphins, those cheerful, feel-good hormones that play a role in easing pain and discomfort.
Sauna Training Eases Muscle Pain
Sauna training’s dry heat quickly raises the skin temperature to around 104 degrees Fahrenheit, creating a fever-like effect. This can effectively alleviate muscle pain from intense workouts. The sauna’s heat removes lactic acid from muscles, promoting faster post-workout recovery. Harvard Medical School notes that sauna use nearly doubles blood flow, increasing muscle relaxation.
Sauna Training Clears Metabolic Waste
In just a few minutes of sauna training, you can sweat approximately a pint of water containing various metabolic waste products. Regular sweating is essential to prevent a buildup of toxins in the body. Sauna training induces deep sweating, aiding the release of minerals like nickel, mercury, lead, copper, and zinc. This makes it a simple and effective way to undergo a painless body detox.
Studies indicate that sauna training post-exercise can boost workout endurance. In a 2007 research at Otago University, male runners taking 30-minute saunas at 190°F after three-week endurance training sessions saw increased running endurance. The improved cardiovascular fitness of the runners, leading to better oxygen levels, was suggested as the reason behind the enhanced endurance.
People globally have relied on saunas for centuries to cleanse and rejuvenate their skin. Sauna training induces deep sweating, eliminating dead skin cells and enhancing the skin’s natural life cycle. The sweat flushes out bacteria from the epidermis, contributing to a clearer complexion. Additionally, sweating improves capillary circulation, keeping the skin soft and supple.
Enhanced Cardio Fitness
In a sauna session, your heart rate can reach 120-140 beats per minute, promoting increased cardiac output and strengthening your heart muscles. Exiting the sauna may lead to a heart rate drop below your resting level. To maximize benefits, try dividing sauna time into sets: spend 10 minutes inside, then take a 2 to 3-minute cool-down break. Repeat this process three or four times to elevate your heart rate by up to 60%, akin to moderate cardio exercise.
The sauna’s high heat levels boost your metabolic rate, leading to calorie burning. Sweating is a calorie-burning activity, tapping into stored carbohydrates and fat for energy. According to Dr. Ward Dean, a US Army medical researcher, a moderately conditioned person can shed around 500 grams in a single session through sauna training.
The calorie burn may be even more significant for those carrying extra weight. While the sauna isn’t a magical fat-burning machine, it is a valuable tool in your fat-burning efforts.
After exercising, especially with weight training, your muscles experience significant stress, causing tiny tears in the muscle fibres. Proper post-workout nutrition and rest are crucial for these fibres to grow bigger and stronger. This is where the importance of sleep comes in. With quality sleep, full recovery from your training will happen, leading to complete benefits from your efforts.
10 Tips for Maximizing Sauna Benefits
For the best outcomes:
- Start sauna training at least two weeks before your event.
- After each daily workout, spend time in the sauna set to 185 to 195 ̊F.
- Avoid drinking anything before or during your sauna session to increase dehydration.
- Take brief breaks, pouring cold water on your neck and tongue before returning.
- Stay seated and refrain from exercising; passive sauna bathing alone can raise your resting heart rate.
- Gradually build exposure time, aiming for 30 to 35 minutes per session for younger adults and adjusting for older individuals.
- Exit the sauna if you start feeling unwell; avoid competitiveness.
- Resist gulping water after leaving the sauna; sip fluids slowly for 3 to 4 hours.
- Repeat the routine daily for at least a week, even on rest days.
- Stop sauna training to allow your system to recover one week before your event, increasing blood volume for enhanced performance on the big day.
In conclusion, sauna training is a valuable companion on your fitness journey, offering a unique blend of benefits for heat therapy. With its deep sweating and relaxation effects, the practice of sauna training can significantly enhance your overall well-being. By incorporating sauna sessions into your routine, you tap into advantages like improved cardiovascular fitness, relief from muscle pain, and the efficient removal of metabolic waste. As you engage in sauna training, remember to stay hydrated, choose the proper attire, and select the appropriate type of sauna for your needs. These simple yet impactful steps can amplify the positive impact of sauna training on your fitness endeavours. So, embrace the heat therapy of sauna training to elevate your fitness experience and unlock a path to a healthier, more rejuvenated you.
1. What is sauna training, and how does it enhance my fitness journey?
Sauna training involves using a sauna to induce sweating, promoting various fitness benefits. It enhances your fitness journey by aiding muscle recovery, improving cardiovascular fitness, and promoting overall well-being.
2. Can sauna training help with weight loss?
Yes, sauna training can contribute to weight loss by increasing your metabolic rate and promoting calorie burning. However, it’s essential to complement it with a balanced diet and regular exercise.
3. Are there any precautions to take during sauna training?
It’s essential to stay hydrated, choose appropriate attire, and consult a healthcare professional if you have any medical concerns before starting sauna training. Taking breaks, especially if feeling unwell, is crucial.
4. How often should I incorporate sauna training into my fitness routine?
The frequency of sauna training depends on individual preferences and health conditions. However, incorporating it a few times a week can provide beneficial results. Listening to your body and gradually increasing the duration is essential based on your comfort level.