Get-Fit Guy on the benefits of sweating it out in the sauna. But can you handle the heat?
I visit the dry sauna at my local health club at least once a week. I get a huge pile of the magazines or journals (and sometimes even grab a book I don’t mind destroying) then settle in for a good 30-45 minute sweat session.
After about 25 minutes, it gets pretty mentally difficult as my heart rate and core temperature rapidly rise, and I eventually get so hot that I have to quit reading – and then I simply switch to staring at the wall and doing deep, meditative breathing to sit things out for as long as I can. Finally, I finish up by taking a cold shower and I feel absolutely amazing afterwards.
Recent research reveals that I may be onto something. JAMA Internal Medicine released an article entitled “Health Benefits of Sauna Bathing,” which analyzed data from the Finnish Kuopio Ischemic Heart Disease Study and found that men who took more frequent saunas (4-7 times per week) actually live longer than once-per-week users. The study reported that:
“Although we do not know why the men who took saunas more frequently had greater longevity (whether it is the time spent in the hot room, the relaxation time, the leisure of a life that allows for more relaxation time, or the camaraderie of the sauna), clearly time spent in the sauna is time well spent.”
So even though multiple sauna visits appear to be superior to just one, you can at least start with a single weekly sauna visit to begin to get some of the benefits. If you want even more nitty gritty details on the science and physiology of heat exposure, then listen to my podcast episode “Everything You Need to Know About How to Use Heat Exposure to Enhance Performance, Burn Fat, Gain Muscle, and Think Better.”.
Do you have more questions about why you should visit a sauna at least once a week? Head over to Facebook.com/GetFitGuy and join the conversation there!
Man in Sauna image courtesy of Shutterstock