In our country, sauna baths are not much of a trend and with reason too. Most regions in India are hot and humid for the better part of the year which eliminates the need for a hot and steaming sauna bath. But what if we were to tell you that taking a sauna bath post workout can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases? Is this true? Let’s find out!
Recently, a study published in the American Journal of Physiology which stated that exercise combined with a sauna bath boosts heart health more than exercise alone. There have been many studies that have shown that exercising can prevent ailments and various diseases.
The current health and exercise guidelines recommend 150–300 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity spread across three to five sessions per week, which helps in improving our cardiovascular health. But this new study shows how taking a sauna bath after a workout is even better for heart health.
What is a sauna bath?
Sauna bath originated from Finland where it has been the way of life for over 2000 years now. Sauna is a Finnish word which means “bath” or “bath house”. A sauna bath is a small wooden room designed as a place to experience dry or wet heat sessions. The steam and high heat make the bathers perspire. You are just supposed to sit in one of these rooms, with minimal clothing on, and let heat do its work.
Sauna baths have proven health benefits that include detoxification, increased metabolism, weight loss, increased blood circulation, pain reduction, anti-aging, skin rejuvenation, improved cardiovascular function, improved immune function, improved sleep, stress management, and relaxation.
In this study published in American Journal of Physiology, researchers took 50 male and female participants of the age group 30-60 for this study and they were divided into two groups: one who did guideline controlled exercise and one where they combined exercise with 15 minutes of sauna bath.
The researchers observed that those in the combined exercise and sauna group, experienced more significant increases in CRF (cardiorespiratory fitness), and more significant decreases in systolic blood pressure (SBP) and total cholesterol than those in the exercise alone group.
A 2007 study published in PubMed Central also shows that repeated sauna therapy (60°C for 15 minutes) improved hemodynamic parameters, clinical symptoms, cardiac function and vascular endothelial function in patients with Congestive Heart Failure (CHF).
Sauna bath improves cardiovascular health via improved endothelium-dependent dilatation, reduced arterial stiffness, modulation of the autonomic nervous system, beneficial changes in circulating lipid profiles, and lowering of systemic blood pressure.
With the rapidly increasing cases of cardiovascular diseases, we see no harm in doing something extra for a healthy heart, so give a try to the sauna bath post your next workout session!