Is It Okay To Use A Sauna After A Workout
The majority of exercise buffs would agree that taking a refreshing shower after a long workout session is literally one of the best feelings. Imagine hours of grueling exercise, running on machines, pumping your muscles to the point they become sore, lifting weights, and whatnot. Wouldn’t it be refreshing to get rid of the sweat and reward yourself after a fulfilling workout sesh?
Nowadays, there is an ongoing debate among the health-conscious community over which type of shower is ideal after exercising: cold or hot. Each has its own advantageous effects on the body, and it all depends on what you are going for.
Rejuvenate Yourself After a Physical Workout
If you crave a hot shower first thing in the morning, you share the same sentiment with a significant proportion of the population. There is a very relaxing feeling being able to let the warm water, temperature adjusted to suit your preference, of course, run all over your body. On the downside, though, not everybody can avail of a hot shower daily, which brings up cold showers.
Sad to say, many people dislike taking one, especially early in the morning. But if you are aware of the good it does to your body, you would be more appreciative of them. So it is time to check out the health benefits of hot showers and cold showers.
Why go for a hot shower
A typical health benefit of taking a hot shower is relaxing and soothing your body’s tired muscles, easing the day’s stresses. This practice is commonly done after workout sessions and before going to bed. It is believed that going for hot showers relieves muscle tension after a long and tiring day. This helps you fall asleep faster and increases the chances of having a good quality of sleep.
Another advantage is its combative effect against skin blemishes. Your pores open up with hot water, allowing you to wash away any trapped oil and dirt, mainly accumulated from intense exercises. Also, hot showers are known to be beneficial for the respiratory system. The steam is considered a natural remedy for symptoms of the flu. In particular, it cleans the nasal passages by expanding the airways, which loosens phlegm.
Despite its effectiveness, hot showers may not always be ideal. It dries out the skin, resulting in irritation. Because it causes damage to the keratin cells on the epidermis, they lose the ability to lock in moisture. For those with skin issues, hot water makes it worse. Dry skin prompts the mast cells to release histamine, causing itchiness. More importantly, cardiovascular disorders could worsen as it increases blood pressure.
Why go for a cold shower
In contrast to hot showers, cold showers do wonders for the skin. It heightens your senses in the morning by increasing heart rate and oxygen intake, making you more alert. It is suitable against cardiovascular disease by constricting blood vessels, improving circulation, and reducing inflammation, especially those with injuries from a workout session. Recovery is scientifically proven to be much faster with a cold shower.
Numerous health experts posit that immersing the body in cold water boosts overall tolerance, fighting stress and illnesses. Enhancing the performance of glutathione positively affects other antioxidants, which is also a crucial thing.
A Modern Alternative to Post-workout Showers
You may have heard of gyms or health clubs built with private saunas near the locker room. This trend is currently popular and practiced by many gym-goers. It is not merely considered a luxury or privilege these days to spend time in a sauna.
Interestingly, present-day health practices support the use of saunas, especially after an intense workout session. With saunas made part of the gym, issues affecting exercise performance can be addressed immediately after a workout. In short, you will have a worthwhile exercise session by ending it with a visit to the sauna.
The best post-workout relaxation method
There are various sauna types, ranging from steam rooms to electrically heated ones, wood-burning to infrared type. Regardless of the humidity level and temperature of a sauna, its health effects are the same for the body.
A typical sauna is heated between 65 degrees to 90 degrees Celsius (150 degrees to 195 degrees Fahrenheit). While a regular sauna visit lasts about half an hour, depending on how much steam and heat a person can endure, you can stay much longer as long as you need to.
Benefits of going to a sauna after a workout
Spending some time in a sauna offers many health benefits, especially for those who just underwent physical activity. Its most recognized impact is on the cardiovascular system and the heart. When the body is exposed to steam and high temperature, it causes the blood vessels to dilate, thus improving circulation and decreasing blood pressure.
Athletes also frequent the sauna to boost their muscle power and strength, enhancing their overall endurance and sports performance. For those with existing joint tenderness and muscle aches caused by fibromyalgia or arthritis, saunas are recommended as a non-invasive treatment.
Interestingly, few weight loss programs suggest a visit to the sauna as part of a holistic approach, not a single component to the program. The goal is not to lose too much water weight and suffer from dehydration (being in a sauna can make you sweat a lot). Nevertheless, the sweat your body produces due to the steam can eliminate any waste products on your skin or in your blood. So a visit might be a good idea after all.
Keeping in mind these concerns, you may still opt to take a hot or cold shower and go to a sauna, so long as you know the advantages associated with each practice. Or a combined approach may be beneficial for you by taking a hot, steamy shower for your muscles and then finishing with a cold shower to rinse off excess sweat and dirt. Some experts recommend lukewarm water or showers with moderate temperatures for a start.