Some people get totally put off when they hear the word sauna. They associate it with half or fully naked people sweating together in a dark confined space – sorry for the visual image!
I personally think that there is nothing more unwinding than laying in the sauna, particularly, after a tough gym session. Not only does it help relieve my muscles, but it also gives me time to relax, contemplate my workout achievements and reward myself.
However, the benefits of using a sauna go way beyond muscle relief and relaxation. These are only part of the reason why I think people should use it more regularly. I’ve rounded up a list of some of the benefits that I have found from regular use of the sauna these past few weeks:
As I mentioned briefly, I like to use the sauna to reward myself after a strenuous workout. I find that sweating it out in hot air really does take my mind off any stress from the outside world. It helps my mind, body and soul (a touch of exaggeration) really get into relaxation mode!
2. Sounder sleep
This probably isn’t news to you, but it is much easier to fall asleep when our muscles are relaxed and free from any tension. The more relaxed your body is before and during sleep, the better quality of your sleep. I tend to use the sauna in the evening time because I find that the heat makes me sleepy!
3. Skin cleanse
There’s a reason why facial saunas were such a big hit back in the day. The heat of a sauna causes the pores to open so when you start sweating, it flushes out dirt, bacteria, oil and any other residue in the pores. After every use of the sauna my skin feels soft, moist and more youthful looking! It just gives you a natural glow!
4. Pain relief
I’m an absolute devil when it comes to doing post workout stretches. So much so, that it had started to take its toll on my knee joints. However, since I started using the sauna more regularly (and spending more time on my stretches) the pain has slowly started to subside. Generally, the heat of a sauna helps loosen muscles and to prevent soreness and ease achy joints!
5. Bye bye calories
Since the heat from a sauna produces an effect that is similar to what happens when we exercise (increased heart rate), using the sauna can burn additional calories. Of course, sauna usage alone will not help you achieve your weight loss goals – only diet and exercise can do that. But because heart rate increases by a good amount, it can help the body burn calories better throughout the day!
Using the sauna is also said to help with detoxification in the body, building a stronger immune system and improving blood circulation. I have yet to experience these changes in my body, but my changes so far are enough for me to want to continue using it on a regular basis and encourage others to do the same!
Top tips for sauna use:
- Newbies should start with five to ten minutes until a tolerance for heat is built.
- Take a break if you feel dizzy or faint – very important!
- Be sure to rehydrate during and after sauna usage.
If you suffer from extreme blood pressure or any other major health issues, then of course, consulting a doctor before sauna usage is a must. But if not, then sweat away!
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