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