Health Benefits Of Saunas
Saunas are the pinnacle of relaxation. They instead offer a place to unwind after a gym session or after a stressful week at work or even at home. But there’s more to a sauna than just sitting down and breathing in and out and in and out. In fact, there are some amazing health benefits of saunas many people, even those who swear by the sauna, don’t realize.
These benefits include everything from speeding up recovery following an intense workout or injury to helping you overcome that tickling sickness you can feel is about to pounce at any moment. It’s not all about chilling out and relaxing, but also about getting and staying healthy. Don’t sweat it, we’ve got all the information you need right here.
1. Exercise Recovery
You’ve no doubt seen a sauna at your local gym, and if you’ve never taken the leap to check out what’s happening behind those steamy doors, you’ll be a little disappointed to know you’re missing out. Saunas are not just a place for a group of friends to get together and relax, and there’s a reason you’re seeing them at the gym.
They help you recover from a workout by getting rid of the metabolic waste that builds up during and following exercise, and the environment also promotes blood flow to tired muscles, which is especially handy after an intense session. This allows your muscles to recover much faster and reduces the risk of injury, especially if you’ve not warmed-down correctly.
2. Boosts Intelligence
We’re sure you’re a smart guy already, but if you want to boost your intellectual capacity, a sauna is a great place to do it. Just 5 to 10 minutes inside a sauna is enough to promote BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) which helps to increase brain cell growth and make existing nerve cells stronger.
Another thing saunas help with is the release of norepinephrine, which enhances mental clarity and sharpness, so while you may not feel more intelligent, your quick-witted responses will tell otherwise. However, this intelligence only comes with consistent visits, so if you expect to solve all the mysteries of the world and beyond after just one session, we’re afraid you’ll be disappointed.
3. Eases Colds And Other Illnesses
A sauna session can help increase your white blood cell count, which is vital for fighting off illnesses such as colds. The more white blood cells, the more effective your immune system is. It’s not a be-all-end-all solution to never getting sick again, so we’re not advising you to fish used tissues out of garbage cans to prove a point (because that’s gross) but it will help you overcome these illnesses quicker. The days of succumbing to Man FLu are long gone, friend.
4. Improves Cardio
Many endurance athletes swear by saunas as one reason they’re able to run so far for so long. This is because our bodies can only withstand a certain level of heat. A sauna helps to increase this tolerance and allows the body to work harder for longer before tiring.
Likewise, the positive effects saunas have on the muscles (see #1) increases their endurance and reduces fatigue during long and intense exercise.
5. Protects Your Brain
Dementia and Alzheimer’s are a scary thing to think about, but studies have shown men who frequent the sauna are at a lower risk of succumbing to such awful diseases. Much like the sauna can help promote intelligence, it also encourages memory functions and helps you absorb new information and maintain it better than it would without a sauna.
Combined with improved blood flow to the brain and heart and improving the lining of blood vessels, the sauna helps decrease the risk of suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s in the future.
6. Lowers Blood Pressure
Much like improving cardio, a sauna session can also contribute to lower blood pressure. The relaxing environment helps to chill you out and the dilation of blood vessels helps to reduce blood pressure, and the more you use the sauna, the better, with studies showing a decrease of as much as 24%. This also contributes to a lower risk of heart disease and hypertension while also minimizing potential heart defects such as arrhythmias.
7. Accelerate Weight Loss
If you need to cut weight as quickly as possible, then a sauna is one of the easiest ways to do it. Being in a sauna will make you sweat and can increase your heart rate by as much as 20% which helps to burn as many as 500 calories during a 20-minute session. Combine this with an intense cardio workout and the right diet, you’ll hit your target weight in no time at all.
8. Helps You Meet People
Sure, you might not go into a sauna thinking you’ll make a new best friend, but you’d be surprised. Whether you jump in with a friend or by yourself, the confined space almost makes it too awkward not to say anything, and even if you don’t become friends for life, conversation will still help pass the time.
If your sauna is at your gym, you may even find a new spotter to help you smash your lifting goals, so don’t be scared and speak up.
9. Makes Your Hair Look Awesome
Who doesn’t want their hair to maintain the sleek sheen of youth for as long as possible? It’s not just about taking care of it in the shower, but also about treating it right at every opportunity. The sebaceous gland in our scalp is responsible for naturally conditioning and moisturizing our hand, and when in the sauna, the heat activates this gland to excrete the beneficial substances to keep those luscious locks wowing everyone you walk past.
10. Help You Look Younger
If you’re not already aware, your skin is the largest organ in (on?) the body, and like any organ, it needs consistent care to maintain it. The sauna is one of the best ways to treat your skin right, as the heat promotes elasticity to prevent wrinkles while also generating blood flow to encourage new skin cells to grow.
(Not) Feeling The Heat
Some people can feel suffocated in saunas, but this is an issue that goes away with time. Like anything else, conditioning yourself to an environment that may not feel too comfortable at first can soon provide huge benefits. So if you’ve never taken advantage of the tranquil reflections of a sauna, we hope these 10 benefits can sway you into testing it out, it’s for your own good, after all.
- The Hot Secret to Getting Smarter: Saunas Part III – The Platform
- Why You Should Sweat In a Sauna This Winter – Men’s Health
- Benefits of Saunas: 8 Ways It Makes You Healthier and Happier – Lifehack
- Regular Sauna Use Could Slash Men’s Hypertension Risk – Medical News Today