I have fallen in love with using the sauna after my workouts. It may sound counterintuitive, but it truly helps me relax, both mentally and physically. By no means I have been using it for a long time, but I now like to incorporate it into my routine at least three times a week, and I have already seen the benefits.
Using the Sauna for Newbies
If you are new to saunas, work your way up to 20 minutes. Started with just five minutes and when that feels easy, progress to ten. This what has worked for me, and I am now at a solid ten minutes. Soon I will push it 15 and then to 20.
If you’re starting to not feel well, don’t feel pressured to stay in the sauna. Always be mindful of how you feel and make sure to have had plenty of water before going in. I also like to hydrate afterwards.
Please note that the sauna is not meant for weight loss. You will not lose fat by staying in the sauna. You might see a difference on scale afterwards or the next day, but that’s just water weight.
The True Benefits of a Sauna
Off the bat, one of the most noticeable benefits of sauna usage is relaxing tight, sore muscles. You can feel the difference as soon as you leave the sauna. Athletically speaking, however, consistent utilization has been linked to increased muscle mass and endurance. This is achieved through heat shock proteins, which, as Dr. Rhonda Patrick explains, are responsible for delaying protein degradation.
Not sure what protein degradation is? Well, it can lead to an accumulation of toxic protein aggregates that have been linked to Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Huntington’s Disease.
My Tips and Tricks
So how can you use the sauna and get all of its benefits without feeling like you’re suffocating in there? Here’s what I do.
Strike up a conversation. It seems simple, but having a conversation with someone else in the sauna is a great way to pass the time. Once you start talking, the time flies by and the next thing you know, your ten minutes are up.
Stretch it out. I tend to carry my stress in my shoulders, and when I pair that with an upper body day, the soreness is unreal. Taking the time to stretch while in the sauna has been one of the most effective ways to relieve that discomfort. Wherever you’re feeling tight, make sure to stretch it out while you’re in the sauna. Your body will thank you.
Have you used a sauna consistently? What has your experience been like?