When establishing the perfect workout regimen, you must involve pre and post-workout rituals alongside the exercises. It maximizes the workout’s efficiency and helps achieve satisfactory results.
Popular methods of boosting your gym routine involve:
- Taking pre and post-workout supplements.
- Drinking protein smoothies.
- Using saunas before/after workouts.
Incorporating sauna bathing before or after a workout is relatively new, but its benefits have made it widespread among many gym-goers.
Furthermore, now there are many gyms with sauna room for the convenience of visitors.
This article discusses the potential health benefits of the sauna before and after workouts, its drawbacks, and the perfect duration you should spend in the sauna.
Let’s dive into it without any further.
Saunas and Workouts
Why should you use the sauna?
Saunas are famous for helping the muscles relax and recover from strenuous training and physical activities because of their sweat-inducing properties.
Sauna bathing is full-body thermotherapy that involves spending time in a room with a temperature ranging from 65-90 degrees Celsius.
There is a debate among gym-goers about whether to use the sauna before or after exercising.
Some say it’s more advantageous before going to the gym, while others argue that sauna bathing is better as a post-workout ritual. However, the correct answer depends on what works best for you.
Let’s discuss the sauna’s benefits and drawbacks before and after a workout to conclude the suitable option.
Benefits of Using a Sauna before a Workout
Here are the two main reasons why people like a quick sauna session before starting their workouts:
1. Loosen Up The Muscles:
Exercise makes your muscles prone to strain which can be painful and agonizing for up to 3 weeks.
It is an undesirable con of working out. However, using the sauna right before you start your workout routine can be helpful.
The sauna heat loosens the muscles and lowers the chance of straining your muscles by manifolds.
2. Helps warm up before exercise:
Warm-ups are crucial before any strenuous physical activity, especially gyming. It lessens the probability of muscle injury and muscle soreness.
A sauna session also acts as a warm-up because it helps stimulate the cardiovascular system by increasing the blood pressure and the body’s metabolism.
Furthermore, saunas also improve blood circulation to the skin and give the same effect as an actual warm-up.
Drawbacks of Using a Sauna before Exercising
- Although the sauna stimulates the cardiovascular system and boosts blood circulation, it doesn’t physically activate your body. It doesn’t prepare the muscles and joints for the movements involved in the exercises.
- Sauna bathing can make you sweat a lot if you stay in for a long time. It can lead to dehydration and loss of crucial electrolytes. Therefore, rehydrate yourself before exercising by drinking lots of water and suitable energy drinks.
- Spending too much time in the sauna before exercising can make your muscles relax too much, negatively affecting muscle performance.
How Long Should You Use A Sauna?
Here is the answer to how long should you use a sauna:
- When you use the sauna after working out, cap the usage time to 15 minutes maximum. Also, if you are new to sauna bathing, 5-10 minutes is sufficient.
- Some people will sit in the sauna for 10 minutes before working out, while others can hold for up to 30 minutes. You should listen to your body and ensure not to dehydrate yourself before exercising.
Benefits of Sauna after a Workout
Here are the benefits of sauna after workout session:
A sauna after an intense workout relaxes both your mind and muscles.
2. Muscle Recovery:
Sauna bathing helps remove harmful toxins from the body, such as lactic acid built up in the muscles from all the exercising.
Furthermore, it lowers the chances of muscle soreness and stiffness as the sauna steam helps your blood vessels open and carry oxygen to the tired muscles.
The muscles recover faster, making you feel healthier and lowering the risks is pain.
3. Enhance Aerobic Endurance:
If you enjoy running or other aerobic exercises, the sauna after a workout is a must as it improves your ability to stay aerobic at high intensities without gassing out. You can enjoy your aerobic exercises/sports for more extended periods.
4. Lowers Heart Rate:
A short sauna session post-workout helps lower your heart rate to normal levels.
Drawbacks of Using a Sauna after Exercising
Do not set the sauna heart at a high temperature because it will drench out more water and electrolytes from the body.
Make sure to hydrate yourself after and during the sauna session.
Does The Infrared Sauna Work As Well?
Infrared saunas are unlike traditional sauna as it uses infrared lamps to heat the body directly.
It works similarly to regular saunas and is perfect for use before/after working out.
Moreover, infrared saunas allow you to stay in such an environment for longer while increasing your core temperature by 2-3 degrees.
Sauna Before or After a Workout to Lose Weight?
There is confusion among people that the sauna helps with weight loss when it’s not the case at all.
Since the sauna is primarily a sweat-inducing room with a high temperature, it can only drop a small amount of water weight.
You can never lose fat mass when sitting in a sauna before and after working out. Instead, it just dehydrates you.
However, if you have to lose weight for boxing weigh-ins instantly, the sauna can help drop a few kilograms of water weight.
Conclusion — Sauna Before or After Workouts?
From the above debate, we can conclude that incorporating a sauna session in your post-workout routine is more effective than before exercise.
It is because the sauna can dehydrate your body and give an unsatisfactory warm-up effect as it doesn’t physically activate the muscles and joints.
Hence, we suggest you use a sauna room once you are done with your workout of the day. Start with short sessions, keep your hydration levels in check, and keep track of your progress to see if it works for your body. Halt the use of the sauna if you notice abnormal responses from the body.
Also, do not add sauna bathing to your regimen if you are pregnant, have poor cardiovascular health, or suffer from health conditions fostered by bodily fluids loss.
Ask for professional advice for your trainer to ensure you’re doing things right.