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You’ve finished a sweaty session, and yet you have a burning desire to sit in a hot room and sweat some more. You’re not alone, as we write this article we do so desiring the warmth of a sauna slat under our glutes.
But the big question is: How long should you sit in the sauna after a workout?
To get straight to the point, the optimal duration is between 15 and 30 minutes.
This time frame allows for muscle relaxation, improved circulation, and reduced inflammation, while minimizing the risk of dehydration or overheating.
However, the exact duration may vary depending on your fitness level, sauna temperature, and personal preference.
In this article, we’ll explore the science behind using a sauna post-workout, the benefits of this practice, and how to safely incorporate it into your routine.
Saunas provide a hot and humid environment that can stimulate the body’s natural healing processes.
After a workout, your body needs to cool down and recover, and sitting in a sauna can help expedite this process.
The heat and humidity of a sauna can help soothe sore muscles, promote relaxation, and aid in the removal of metabolic waste products (1).
Sitting in a sauna after exercise also causes blood vessels to dilate, increasing blood flow to muscles to help them relax further.
This improved circulation can reduce muscle soreness while accelerating the healing process.
A study published on ScienceDirect found that participants who used a sauna after exercise experienced a significant decrease in delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) compared to those who didn’t (2).
Heat exposure from saunas can also help reduce inflammation, which is beneficial for post-workout recovery.
A study found that sauna use could decrease levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines and increase anti-inflammatory markers, promoting faster recovery and reducing the risk of injury (3).
But what is the right amount of time to spend in a sauna post workout?
While the recommended duration is 15 to 30 minutes, it’s essential to consider your fitness level, sauna temperature, and personal preference when determining how long to stay in the sauna after a workout.
If you’re new to using saunas or have a lower fitness level, start with shorter sessions and gradually increase the duration as your body adapts.
It’s crucial not to push yourself too hard, as overexposure to heat can lead to dehydration, dizziness, and fainting. Not so fun!
Sauna temperatures can range from 150°F (65°C) to 212°F (100°C) depending on the type of sauna (4).
Higher temperatures may require shorter sessions, while lower temperatures may allow for more extended periods.
Always monitor your body’s response to the heat and adjust your sauna duration accordingly.
Patience is key, find what works for you, and take all the time you need doing so.
Ultimately, the ideal sauna duration after a workout comes down to personal preference.
Some individuals may prefer shorter sessions to prevent excessive sweating and dehydration, while others may enjoy more extended periods for increased relaxation and recovery.
To maximize the benefits and minimize the risks associated with using a sauna after exercise, follow these safety tips:
1. Hydrate before, during, and after sauna use to avoid dehydration.
2. Limit alcohol consumption before and after sauna sessions, as it can exacerbate dehydration and increase the risk of heat-related illness.
3. Allow your body to cool down after exercise before entering the sauna, as jumping in immediately can cause additional stress on your cardiovascular system.
4. Always listen to your body and leave the sauna if you feel dizzy, lightheaded, or uncomfortable.
5. Gradually increase the duration of your sauna sessions as your body adapts to the heat.
6. Consult with a healthcare professional if you have any underlying medical conditions, such as heart disease or high blood pressure, before using a sauna.
In conclusion, spending 15 to 30 minutes in a sauna after a workout can offer several benefits, including muscle relaxation, improved circulation, and reduced inflammation.
It’s important to first consider your fitness level, the sauna temperature, and your personal preference when determining the appropriate duration for your post-workout sauna session.
By following the safety precautions outlined in this article, you can safely incorporate sauna use into your workout routine and enjoy the many benefits it has to offer.
1. Mero, A., Tornberg, J., Mäntykoski, M., & Puurtinen, R. (2015). Effects of far-infrared sauna bathing on recovery from strength and endurance training sessions in men. SpringerPlus, 4, 321.
2. Laukkanen, T., Khan, H., Zaccardi, F., & Laukkanen, J. A. (2015). Association between sauna bathing and fatal cardiovascular and all-cause mortality events. JAMA Internal Medicine, 175(4), 542-548.
3. Scoon, G. S., Hopkins, W. G., Mayhew, S., & Cotter, J. D. (2007). Effect of post-exercise sauna bathing on the endurance performance of competitive male runners. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 10(4), 259-262.
4. Hannuksela, M. L., & Ellahham, S. (2001). Benefits and risks of sauna bathing. The American Journal of Medicine, 110(2), 118-126.