Sauna use has proven to have a large number of benefits over the course of the last few decades as scientists have extensively studied the many positive health effects from the ancient practice of steam rooms and saunas. This is no secret to anyone who has used saunas as the practice of sauna use dates back many hundreds or even thousands of years in Scandinavian regions where people long ago are known to have utilized sealed cabin-like structures equipped with large steam pots.
How can athletes boost performance through the use of Sauna?
For those who regularly use saunas, the health benefits are quite obvious. Researchers say that sauna use can prolong your lifespan, as well as increase your overall physical, emotional, and mental health just from a few one-hour sessions each week.
Athletes are commonly concerned with new and improved ways to up their game and increase their own body’s potential in a way that helps them perform at a higher level. Many professional athletes have been known to partake in steam saunas and the locker rooms of just about every professional sports franchise in the United States and other parts of the world are equipped with a state-of-the-art sauna. For those that cannot afford to install a full service sauna in their house, there are plenty of options, like a 1 person infrared sauna.
So what are the benefits of sauna use for athletes? In this article, we’ll take a closer look at just what saunas are capable of doing for the human body and how those positive effects can serve as benefits for athletes who choose to use them.
Health Benefits of Sauna Use for Athletes
Athletes across the world have used saunas for many years, knowing their health benefits can only improve the overall physical and mental aspects of their bodies and minds. No matter what sport an athlete is involved in, from long-distance runners to sumo wrestlers, the benefits of saunas for athletes are undeniable.
Here are the main performance benefits of sauna for athletes
- Heat and Humidity Acclimation
- Increase Blood Flow
- Keeps Your Body Cooler
- Stimulate Muscle Growth
Whether an athlete decides to use a sauna on an off-day throughout their week, or utilize its benefits as a post-workout regimen, here are some of the most prominent ways sauna use can benefit athletes.
Heat and Humidity Acclimation
For world-class athletes like distance runners or soccer players, using a sauna is actually a very effective way to become better acclimated to heat and humidity. Athletes who reside in colder climates have long experienced many problems when they are forced to compete in a completely different part of the world where the heat can be stifling and the humidity might also have significant negative effects on their overall performance. Athletes in Russia famously used saunas for many years when preparing to compete in the Olympic games when they have been held in countries that are known to have very warm, humid climates.
Increase Blood Flow
One of the ways that saunas are able to provide major overall health benefits is that they force the body to work overtime in order to bring fresh blood to every extremity as the heart pumps harder and faster to cool the body’s core temperature. The rate at which the heart beats in a sauna is not quite as comparable to strenuous exercise, but sauna use still makes the heart pump at a harder and faster rate, further improving its ability to deliver needed blood to every part of the body.
Sauna sessions also increase the rate of blood plasma and volume flowing to the heart. This helps to deliver a greater amount of blood and plasma to your body’s extremities, increasing strength and endurance. This essentially means that a greater amount of blood is able to flow to your body’s muscles and skin. These increased levels of blood help athletes have better strength and endurance than they would if they didn’t utilize saunas.
Keeps Your Body Cooler
Using a sauna regularly helps to improve your body’s thermoregulatory system, which helps produce ample amounts of sweat and cools your body down during strenuous exercise. Regular sauna use helps to increase the amount of blood flow to the body’s skin, which in turn helps cleanse your pores and expunge harmful toxins that might otherwise build up inside. The increased blood plasma levels help to increase your body’s ability to dissipate heat through the skin and sweat since your skin will be more accustomed to sweating and, therefore, will be better equipped to deal with extreme heat and strenuous exercise.
Stimulate Muscle Growth
It’s no secret that using a sauna is a great way to help alleviate sore muscles, but how does it work to help stimulate muscle growth. Heat therapy is becoming one of the newest ways that professional athletes are using to create new muscle growth in addition to proper diet and exercise. Using a sauna on a regular basis has proven to facilitate the production of “heat proteins” which repair damaged proteins in the body and protect against the catatonic elements of oxidative damage.
This evidence has proven to be especially useful in a post-workout setting when muscles are typically aching and have been torn and damaged by extreme levels of exertion. Recent studies have been conducted to measure just how much sauna use can benefit athletes who utilize saunas after their workouts. Researchers in these studies have concluded that exposure to extreme heat immediately after strenuous workouts helps to build muscles back faster and stronger than the body would typically be able to without sauna use. This is also highly conducive to alleviating muscle soreness that so often plagues athletes.
Saunas offer plenty of health benefits, not just for athletes
Given the many different benefits that regular sauna use can have for the average person, it offers a much greater amount of positive aspects for athletes, especially professional athletes who rely on their bodies to produce at the highest levels. Saunas can help alleviate many of the regular aches and pains felt by athletes following strenuous exercise, as well as prepare them for extreme levels of competition in a way that nothing else does. Athletes who fail to incorporate sauna use into their fitness regimen are truly putting themselves at a disadvantage over those who do choose to do so.