If you’re wondering how infrared saunas work or if a sauna workout is for you, you’ve come to the right place. While traditional saunas heat the air around you, infrared saunas use light to penetrate your skin, directly warming your body and creating a deep, detoxifying sweat. Are infrared saunas right for you? It really depends on what you’re hoping to achieve, your health, and your experience level.
We’ll cover the benefits and how to use infrared saunas with your workout. As with any exercise program, consult your doctor first if you have any health concerns. Some health benefits of infrared sauna workouts include:
Improved cardiovascular health
With an infrared sauna, your body reacts similarly to a moderate exercise session. Your heart rate increases and your blood vessels widen. When this happens, the volume of blood pumped throughout your body also increases, which increases your cardiac output. Your body learns to work more efficiently, burning more calories and lowering your cholesterol levels. When you combine a mild to moderate exercise routine with the sauna, you amplify these benefits.
Stress reduction and relaxation
Most people feel better after using a sauna because the heat increases your serotonin levels. Studies show that a sauna treatment can improve depression symptoms for up to six weeks afterward. The heat also relaxes muscle tension for an added stress release. While your mind and muscles are relaxed, you can experience improved exercise performance, especially for stretching or yoga practices.
Because your heart rate is increased, your body also increases your metabolic rate, which burns more calories. Even just sitting still in a sauna can burn as many calories as an exercise session; exercising during the sauna session increases the number of calories burned. While much of the immediate weight loss is water weight from sweating, using more calories is a key factor in overall weight loss.
The increased blood flow from saunas helps your body recover more quickly because your health is pumping oxygenated blood and nutrients at a faster rate. Even after the sauna treatment, your blood flow remains elevated for up to 30 minutes. Because muscle recovery is about improving your blood flow, saunas play a key role in speeding up the recovery time following an intense workout. Saunas are also good for detoxing your system and sweating all of the toxins out.
Infrared saunas can help improve your overall health by detoxing and boosting your immune system:
Detox: Sweating helps your body release toxins that can make you sick and inhibit weight loss. Because infrared saunas work deep in your body, they are more efficient at flushing heavy metals stored in your muscles than traditional saunas.
Immune Boost: When you raise your core body temperature, it tricks your body into thinking you have a mild fever. Your immune system reacts by releasing white blood cells, which then makes you more resistant to illness. In turn, your immune system grows stronger against minor illnesses, such as the common cold.