Sauna Before or After Your Workout? That’s the Hot Question

Finnleo-Sauna-IITrying to decide whether to take a sauna before or after exercising?

Working out the optimum sauna schedule may have you baffled. You know that timing is key to gaining the hot advantage when exercising. Many of our Finnleo Sauna owners have asked what’s the best time to sauna before or after working out?

Research has shown that a sauna session can enhance endurance performance – but the sauna should come after, not before, the exercise.

A study at the University of Otago in New Zealand involving six distance runners showed that sauna use led to significant improvement in the men’s endurance, related to an increase in their blood volume. The men sat in a sauna for about a half-hour after a treadmill run. After three weeks, they performed the same exercise for another three weeks without the sauna. The researchers concluded that the sauna sessions “produced a worthwhile enhancement of endurance running performance, probably by increasing blood volume.”

It’s important to enjoy the sauna after the workout – not before. The effects of the heat would interfere with your exercise. Although some people a brief visit to the sauna ahead of time, an extended session is counterproductive in several ways:

  • Excessive relaxation, physically and psychologically. Relaxed muscles are more likely to be injured by exercise. Emotionally, you want to be on heightened attention, not mellow relaxation, when you enter the workout.
  • Preheating. With the sauna’s head start, you’ll sweat more during the exercise, but without exerting any more of the effort that burns calories.
  • Dehydration. When you begin to sweat ahead of the exercise, your body is losing fluids. That will reduce your performance during the workout.

After your exercise, the sauna offers important benefits 

  • Sweat. Wastes that build up in your muscles and joints during the workout can be carried by the blood to the surface of your skin, where they can be removed by sweat.
  • Heat. Now that you’ve exercised, your muscles have earned the relaxing benefits of the heat all over your body in the sauna.
  • Heart. Sitting in the sauna elevates your heart rate to levels similar to moderate workouts. That means the cardio benefits of your workout continue through your session.
An after-exercise sauna session can boost the healthful effects of your workout. Check with your trainer and your doctor to make sure you’re using the regimen that’s right for you.

The Good Sweat starts with a Finnleo Sauna from Olympic Hot Tub



Don Riling

Author: Don Riling

Don Riling is the President of Olympic Hot Tub and has been an active member of the hot tub industry for over 20 years. As the company’s owner since 2016, he has continued Olympic’s legacy of promoting health & wellness through hot water therapy.

15 responses to “Sauna Before or After Your Workout? That’s the Hot Question

  1. I just bought a sauna. And this post was informational for me. I am on a mission to get in to physical n mental shape.


    1. Hello Katt:
      Thanks for posting. Good luck on your new mission to get in better health.
      Using your sauna will certainly help you get there.
      Best wishes,

  2. I have been using the sauna after my workouts for years. It truly changes the way I feel. Without the Sauna I feel more lethargic and tired. It is fantastic!! Thanks for the info which only proves that I have been doing the right order this whole time..

  3. The best part of my work out it the sauna be finishing up with the sauna since my college football day after I was introduced to it by my father at the old European Health Spa’s.

    Too me it’s the quite kept fountain of youth, workout then sauna 40 plus year’s

    1. Hi James:
      Great to hear that you’re a dedicated sauna user!!
      Fountain of youth, indeed. You’ve found it.
      Keep on using the sauna after workouts!!

      all the best,

    1. Hello Diane:
      Sauna use is very beneficial for overall health. Check out the top benefits on our website:
      Many people say that regular sauna use is their Fountain of Youth.
      Glad to hear that you’re making the sauna a regular habit!
      All the best,
      PS: See more sauna health benefits for specific illnesses on the blog.

  4. Hi Sir / Madam,

    I am a regular swimmer and runner. Should I take steam and suana before my swimming workout or after my swimming.

    I normally walk 3 Kms / Swim 1000 Mtrs / 10 Minutes Steam room and 10 minutes. Is the order is ok.

    1. Hassan–According to Finnleo, the sauna brand we carry (who has been in business since the 1920’s!: A light sauna before a workout is okay, to loosen stiff muscles, but since your body has to work quite hard to remain cool we would not recommend very long. Five or ten minutes maximum. If you are starting to break a sweat it’s probably time to get out, prior to the workout. As for after the swim or workout, a sauna and/or a steambath is highly effective. Saunas help break down lactic acid build up and release other toxins from the body as you sit and sweat. As for the right amount of time, that is difficult to answer as every person is different. The factory recommends each bather do what feels comfortable, often going inside in ‘innings’ or ‘intervals’ such as 10 minutes at a time. The UL maximum recommended time is 30 minutes.

  5. I work out 5 days a week and always wondered when to go to the sauna, now that I know that I should go after my work out, my next question is : for How long should I stay in the sauna after my work out?
    I’m 28 Years old, on a scale of skinny to muscular routine (148 pounds) and 5’9 heigh (if that helps to provide a better answer please)

    1. Mario–That’s entirely dependent on your health and personal comfort level. I would think a 20 minute sauna session would be absolutely fine. If you have concerns, I would contact your medical provider to get a solid recommendation.

  6. Just wanted to mention that it is best to take a cold shower after a sauna. Or run out in the snow and bathe in it for at least one minute and then return to the sauna. Then the pores that have opened during a sauna closes and you will stop sweating and after you will feel warm and light. I am a Scandinavian so I know. 🙂

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