HOW LONG TO SIT IN A SAUNA AFTER A WORKOUT: FINDING THE PERFECT POST-WORKOUT SAUNA SESSION
A rewarding workout leaves you with a satisfying muscle ache while heavy beads of sweat roll down your body. Have you ever wondered how you can elevate that experience?
Entering the sauna and embracing its warm grace can add the perfect touch to give you the ideal post-workout satisfaction.
The sauna's soothing warmth works magic to help you relax your muscles, relieve tension, and promote overall well-being. While you may want to sit in the sauna for a long time after working out, you must be mindful of time.
Read ahead to find out how long you should sit in a sauna after a workout, the perfect post-workout sauna routine, and the benefits that go along with it.
How Long to Sit in Sauna After Workout
Everyone is unique in their needs and preferences. Which is why there is no one-size-fits-all solution to the question: how long should you use the sauna after a workout?
The following factors best determine the answer to this question:
It is essential to understand that heat affects everyone differently after a workout. Some may enjoy it, and some may want to head out as soon as a minute passes.
On average, you should spend around 15–20 minutes in the sauna after a workout. This is important since it allows your body to cool down and recover. Post-workout sauna sessions also have many benefits that help alleviate muscle soreness and improve overall health.
Let's take a closer look at some of these benefits.
Benefits of Sauna Post-Workout
If you're already wondering if it's worth adding a sauna session to your post-workout routine, you're not alone. When it comes to fitness, the end goal is to improve our health and appearance, making every workout session count.
Let's face it, finding extra time for the gym can be a challenge. Should you add another 15-20 minutes for a sauna session? It may sound like a tough decision, but don't worry. With the potential benefits, you'll see why using a sauna after working out is a great decision!
Muscle soreness is a common phenomenon after working out. Microscopic tears form on your muscles when exerted beyond their normal limits, ultimately leading to inflammation.
You may feel muscle soreness, cramps, tightness, and sensitivity. However, once these tears heal, your muscles become more robust. The warmth of the sauna increases blood circulation, delivering oxygen-rich blood to your oxygen-depleted muscles — helping to kick-start the recovery process after a workout.
Relieves Overall Tension
Muscle soreness makes you feel exhausted and causes your body to tense up. Studies show that heat is an excellent way of relieving muscle aches. This is exactly why athletes apply heating pads to relieve muscle pain.
Hence, a quick sauna session is the perfect solution for a post-workout heat remedy. With the heat, your muscles will relax and will get less tense.
Plus, thanks to the improved blood circulation, your muscles, brain, and other organs will get more oxygen — eventually releasing feel-good endorphins to boost your overall mood. To add to the experience, you can adjust the heat setting to your liking for even more benefits.
Detoxification with Sweat
Toxins are all around us. They enter our bodies from the air we breathe, the foods we consume, and the things we touch. Typically, it is the liver's job to detox your body from unwanted toxins. With that said, our bodies are filled with overwhelming amounts of these toxins. Some of these take quite a long time to cleanse out, while others become permanent residents in our bodies, causing chronic issues.
Sweat is not just your body's way of cooling itself down; it's also an excellent way to release toxins from your body. If you prolong your sweating by getting into the sauna after your workout, your body can purge toxins such as unwanted metals, nicotine, alcohol, and more. In short, detoxification will leave you feeling healthier, relaxed, and happier.
Improved Heart Health
Sitting in a sauna increases your heart rate to the point of a low to moderate-level workout. In other words, as exercise benefits your cardiovascular health, so does the sauna. Scientists have discussed how saunas help your nervous system react better, reduce artery stiffness, and lower systolic blood pressure.
Considering the abundance of health benefits, you should enjoy a 15–20 minutes sauna session post workout — we would say it's time well spent!
Boosts Weight Loss
For most of us, weight loss is the primary motivator that encourages us to join the gym and correct our unhealthy eating habits. We're not saying you can replace a healthy diet, daily workout routine, and a healthy sleep schedule with a quick 15-20 minute sauna session. However, it can undoubtedly be a helpful addition to your weight-loss journey.
Being in the sauna after your workout can increase your heart rate, and an increased heart rate allows you to burn more calories.
While sitting in the sauna, post-workout may have benefits — too much of anything is bad. Spending excessive time in the sauna can be counterproductive and lead to heat exhaustion.
With that in mind, the intensity of your workout determines how long your sauna session should be after you finish in the gym:
Light workout: A sauna session that lasts up to 15 minutes
Moderate or high-intensity exercise: Limiting sauna sessions to a maximum of 10 minutes is advised
Extremely intense workout: It is recommended to avoid the sauna altogether
It's important that you prioritize your well-being before deciding on the appropriate sauna duration.
Let's say it's your first time using the sauna after a workout, and you're uncertain about the suitable duration; what should you do?
We recommend starting with a five-minute session and gradually increasing the time until you become accustomed to the heat and effects of the sauna. This approach allows for a steady adjustment to the sauna experience — ensuring a comfortable and safe introduction to longer sessions.
However, you should listen to your body. Remember to stay mindful of how you are feeling. It would help to immediately leave the sauna once you feel overheated, overwhelmed, light-headed, or nauseous.
Sauna Basics and Precautions
Whether you're a gym enthusiast eyeing the sauna after your workout or a newbie excited to relish in the steamy sanctuary, below are some must-follow sauna basics and precautions that demand your attention:
Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water before, during, and after your sauna session.
Avoid alcohol and other substances that will dehydrate you
Take a shower before entering the sauna to feel refreshed and clean
If you're doing a post-workout sauna, try doing light stretches while you sweat — helping to regulate your breathing, reduce stress, promote relaxation, and ease muscle soreness
Start with a lower-intensity infrared sauna before trying a dry sauna or steam room with higher temperatures and humidity
If you're pregnant or have a pre-existing heart condition or low blood pressure, it's best to avoid saunas
Consult with a healthcare professional if you have any medical conditions or concerns
After your sauna session, gradually cool down instead of rapidly exposing your body to cold temperatures to avoid shocking your system
Before entering the sauna, keep your eyeglasses, jewelry, phone, contact lenses, and anything metallic away for safety
While these are general guidelines, your gym facility or healthcare may have slightly different rules for you to follow.
FAQ: How Long to Sit in a Sauna After a Workout
Should you go to the sauna before or after a workout?
It is generally better to go to the sauna after a workout. Going to the sauna before an exercise can increase the risk of muscle injury and dehydration.
Does sauna help lose water retention?
Yes, saunas do help you lose extra water weight. With intense sweat, one of the best benefits of a sauna is losing water weight.
What burns more body fat, a sauna or cardio?
Cardio workouts burn more body fat. Exercises such as hiking, swimming, running, and walking burn significantly more calories than sitting in a sauna.
Conclusion: How Long to Sit in Sauna After Workout
The duration of a sauna session is determined by your comfort. As a general rule of thumb, you should stay in the sauna between 15 and 20 minutes.
Beginners can start with a five-minute session and then progressively extend the time based on their ease and specific needs. However, remember to stay hydrated and listen to your body's needs.
If you want to enjoy the benefits of a post-workout sauna session at home, check out My Sauna World. We can help you find various indoor, outdoor, and traditional saunas. If you're interested and want to know more, please contact us and let our team help you find exactly what you are looking for!
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