Boost your Training with a Sauna Session
You may have heard that resting in a sauna can be healing for your body. They’re thought to originate somewhere in Northern Europe around 4,000 years ago, so there’s no denying there’s a good reason we find them so appealing.
There are many types of saunas (steam, infrared therapy) but Oso Climbing Gyms provides a dry sauna for your personal use. Dry saunas use an electric heater and have a lower humidity output than other types.
Research about the benefits of them is mixed. If you’re considering adding sauna time to your fitness experience, make sure to consider your specific health needs first.
Using a dry sauna comes with many proven benefits. If you’re interested in learning more about the physical and mental benefits of using one, we have another article that dives into that here: 10 Amazing Sauna Benefits You Probably Didn’t Know.
Sauna use can provide noticeable benefits for your health, but if you want to optimize your workout results, continue reading.
Listed below are 3 techniques that are proven to supplement physical training in various ways. Read about each option and see which method best fits your personal fitness goals.
1. Use the Sauna Consistently to Increase Exercise Efficiency
A study in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport documented that when female athletes used a sauna for 20 minutes each day, 5 days a week, they found that it improved exercise efficiency when compared to a control group.
According to this study, you don’t need to be strategic about what time of day you step into one, but you do need to be consistent. Some athletes prefer to use the dry heat to warm up their muscles prior to a workout, while others use it to rest their bodies afterward. You can also use the sauna on rest days, knowing that just spending 20 minutes in this environment is healing for your body.
2. Step into the Sauna After a Workout for Strategic Recovery Sessions
Exercise causes toxic substances, such as lactic acid, to build up in your muscle tissue after working out. Lactic acid contributes to sore and tense muscles, which can last for days after your last workout if you leave it unaddressed.
You may have heard that it is possible to sweat toxins out of your body. While this is not true, you can speed up the process of releasing them from your body by stretching, staying hydrated, and using a sauna. Heat mobilizes the compounds in your body, and increases blood flow to your liver, colon, and kidneys.
If you plan strategically and use the dry heat after a workout, you can eliminate some of the buildup before it begins to set in your muscles. This can make you feel more flexible and eliminate the usual next-day soreness. A faster recovery period like this allows you to maximize your next workout and feel more comfortable as you continue through the rest of your day.
3. Kickstart Your Warmup by Spending a Few Minutes in the Sauna
Others will argue that the best time to use a sauna is before your workout. Warming up is an important part of a training schedule, and using the dry heat can speed up the process. While using one won’t completely replace active stretching or a warm-up jog, it will loosen up your muscles.
If you’re prone to injury in the gym, this might be especially appealing to you. Adding a few minutes in the heat can relax tight muscles and allow for more mobility during your exercises.
The key to warming up in the sauna is keeping it short and staying hydrated. Aim for about 5 minutes and work from there. If you have space, you can even begin your stretches there. 5 minutes should be more than enough time for the heat to take effect.
Now that you’ve been presented with 3 schedules (each with scientific backing) it’s time to test them out.
It’s important that you find the right practices that work for you and your body. If you have a specific training goal, using the sauna more strategically will lead you to make progress more quickly. But don’t forget, trying out different techniques can be a fun learning experience.
Saunas are meant to produce a feeling of relaxation, and benefit both your mind and body. Now, you have the opportunity to take your sessions to the next level. Savor the process and continue to crush your training goals, one by one.