Updated: Aug 29
The first saunas are believed to have been built in Finland in northern Europe around 2,000 BC and were made from pits dug in the ground used as a form of survival. Modern versions of these “Finnish Saunas” are now found in gyms and spas all over the world and provide users with a long list of health benefits. The sauna heat exposure provides users a place to unwind physically and mentally as they emerge relaxed for the day ahead.
Below is a list of the top 5 proven health benefits of Sauna use and why you should consider using the sauna to compliment your workout:
5 Health Benefits of the Sauna:
#1 Improves Cardiovascular Performance
Sauna heat relaxes the body’s muscles, improves circulation and stimulates the release of endorphins giving the user a lovely after sauna skin glow. Besides this, a long-term sauna use complimented by aerobic exercise is strongly associated with improved arterial compliance allowing the arteries to be healthier and better handle stress. Heat bathing in a sauna provides stress relief which helps fight most diseases that stem from our bodies being stressed.
#2 Flushes Toxins
Regular sauna use allows for the body’s temperature to increase and sweat which many of us don’t do on a day to day basis. However, the sauna provides a place where you can sweat on a daily basis and with the increase in body temperature blood vessels dilate causing increased blood flow. As the body’s sweat glands become stimulated, they produce sweat which during sauna use flushes out toxins and allows the body to reduce levels of copper, zinc and other chemicals.
#3 Relives Stress & Anxiety
Sauna use can help the body and mind adapt to stress and reduce the risk of depression and anxiety. Subsequently, this has many benefits for the user during their daily routine and allows for them to have a more relaxed, deep sleep in the evening.
#4 Cleans Skin
Heath bathing is essential to help clean skin, during sauna use the deep sweat the body creates allows for the skin to be cleaned and dead skin cells replaced. Sweating cleans out bacteria from the skin layer and sweat ducts giving the skin a softer-looking glow.
#5 Burns Calories
Sauna use can be treated as one of the many tools in the arsenal to burn calories. According to U.S. Army medical research (Ward Dean, M.D.), "A moderately conditioned person can easily sweat off 500 grams in a sauna in a single session, consuming nearly 300 calories in the process.” The body consumes said calories due to the acceleration of heart activity (the cardiovascular section). As heart activity increases and as these processes demand more oxygen, the body begins to convert more calories into usable energy.
In short, if you have been looking for a great compliment to your workout where you can reduce stress and improve cardiovascular performance you should consider regular sauna use. As mentioned above there are many essential benefits for the body and mind and I bet you won’t regret your decision to incorporate sauna bathing into your life.
By Mark Ollerton - Freelance Writer