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Are Saunas as Good as Blood Doping?

Could sweating in a dry sauna give you the same athletic edge as blood doping? Get-Fit Guy says yes!

By
Ben Greenfield,

A few weeks ago, I described my regimen for visiting the dry sauna at my local health club. At least once a week, I grab a huge pile of the magazines or journals (and sometimes even a book I don’t mind destroying), set up camp, and settle in for a good 30-45 minute sweat session.

In that newsletter, I described how the JAMA Internal Medicine released an article entitled “Health Benefits of Sauna Bathing” and found that men who took more frequent saunas (4-7 times per week) actually live longer than once-per-week users.

And now the latest news on saunas has actually inspired me to begin searching for an infrared or dry sauna for my own home and here’s why: Saunas may be as effective as blood doping for athletes.

The study reports that endurance athletes can shave 1.9% off their 5K time by spending half an hour in the sauna after every running training session for a period of 3 weeks. The effect is probably due to a rise in blood plasma, red blood cells, and the precursor of red blood cells “erythropoietin” or EPO.

Of course, if you’ve ever tried to step into a sauna after a run or any other hard workout, you know that it can be a pure torturefest if the sauna is truly as hot as it should be. But nonetheless, if you can handle the heat, then a sauna could not only increase longevity but also athletic performance and maximum oxygen consumption!

Please note: Individuals with certain health conditions are prohibited from spending time in a hot sauna. Please consult your doctor before you begin any kind of heat therapy regimen.

Do you have questions about how a sauna can help your athletic performance? Head over to Facebook.com/GetFitGuy and join the conversation there!

 

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