While you may enjoy using a sauna after exercise, some people swear by the results they get using one before a workout. There are many benefits to regular use as part of your health routine, but precautions should be taken regardless of whether you use one before or after you exercise in order to get optimal results.
The main reason to use a sauna before a workout is to loosen up your muscles and get them relaxed and ready to perform. You’ll also raise your core body temperature slightly in the sauna, which will increase your metabolism and get your heart pumping efficiently.
There is a fine line, however, between getting the muscles warmed up and getting them so relaxed they won’t work efficiently, so keep your time in the sauna brief.
Also be aware of the loss of water and electrolytes in the sauna. If you get ready for your workout with a sauna, rehydrate yourself with plenty of water or some type of sports drink. You should also wait about fifteen minutes between getting out and starting your exercise routine.
Most doctors agree that you’ll get the most benefit from using a sauna after working out rather than before. The many benefits include an increased metabolism even while resting and a prolonged, relaxed cool down.
Sitting in the sauna for about fifteen minutes after exercising will keep your metabolism at a higher rate for a longer period of time, which is especially beneficial if you’re trying to lose weight.
Using a sauna after having exercised will also help you sweat out toxins in the skin and get rid of any built-up lactic acid in the muscles. This will help your muscles recover faster and help you feel healthier. Sweating out the toxins is also good for the skin, keeping it clean and supple.
Finally, relaxing in the sauna after exercise will help muscle recovery and aid in relaxation so that you won’t get muscle cramps. The heat will soothe tired, overworked muscles so that you feel looser and more relaxed. You’re less likely to have sore muscles the next day if you use a sauna after exercising.
Do play it safe when using the sauna after exercise. Don’t overdo the time you spend in the sauna or put the temperature too high. Either of these can lead to loss of needed electrolytes or cause your heart to race. After a workout, keep your sauna time to ten or fifteen minutes and be sure you drink plenty of fluids, preferably water or a sports drink, to keep hydrated.