Why Regular Use of the Sauna Works Best

Dating back thousands of years, the sauna has been a beloved tradition that offers numerous benefits. Let’s explore why we’re fortunate to have this amenity at our doorstep, and how regular use of the sauna will significantly improve our longevity, mental health and overall wellbeing.

Muscle Maintenance

The sauna’s physiological effects mimic moderate to vigorous exercise, making it an excellent alternative for people with physical limitations. Regular use can help prevent muscle atrophy, which occurs when we don’t move our bodies, leading to significant loss of strength and reduced protein synthesis.

Studies have shown that two 15-minute sauna sessions with a 30-minute break in between increase human growth hormone production five-fold over baseline.

We don’t suggest you give up your spin classes and weights program to reap the benefits of the sauna alone. We encourage you to add the sauna to your Next Gen routine, as part of a holistic approach to your health and wellbeing.

Physiological Changes

When our bodies are exposed to high temperatures repeatedly, they adapt by producing sweat, increasing heart rate and blood flow to the skin. This process triggers the production of heat shock proteins and increases nitric oxide production.

Heat shock proteins play a crucial role in supporting our immune system and have been linked to the reduction of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. You can further boost the production of shock proteins by regular exercise and taking cold showers or baths. Like the benefits of exercising, the sauna increases our circulation and in doing so, reduces our risk of cardiovascular-related diseases. Inflicting intentional stress on our bodies may sound counterintuitive, but in this case, certain stressors have exceptional health benefits 

Increased Endurance and Cardiovascular Health

Cardiovascular disease is responsible for a third of deaths worldwide each year, that’s approximately 18 million people who die annually from a preventable disease. The traditional sauna increases our heart rate to 100-150 bpm depending on duration and temperature. Consistent use will improve blood pressure and reduce overall inflammation.

Studies have shown that you can lower your chances of sudden cardiac death by 22% by using the sauna 2 to 3 times a week. If you bump up your visits to 4 to 7 times weekly, you can decrease your risk by 63%!

Get the most out of your hard work in the gym and add just one 30-minute sauna session to your routine weekly. This will boost red blood cell production and plasma volume, improving the process of transporting oxygen from the lungs to your muscles, and result in more efficient performance and increased endurance.

Mental Health

The sauna also has mental health benefits. Those who suffer from depression often display similar biomarkers of inflammation. When inflammatory markers are elevated for extensive periods, symptoms are heightened and changes in brain function start to occur for the worse.

Evidence shows that the production of beta-endorphins is triggered with sauna use. These endorphins send messages to the brain and act as our natural painkilling mechanism. Ultimately, we feel good after time in the sauna, often similar to how we do after a hard workout!

A Short History Lesson 

Throughout history, heat has been used to combat viral infections and help us return to optimal health. Inhaling hot and humid air assists our immune system by actively clearing out airways and any unwanted pathogens. Today, saunas are popular around the globe as part of our wellness routines or simply to relax. While the methods of heating have evolved, the benefits remain the same.

Are you doing it right?  

While there is debate about the most effective protocols for sauna use, evidence suggests that frequency rather than duration is key. Evidence has shown that frequent use was linked to a reduction of all-cause mortality by 40%. Aim for at least 20 minutes of sauna use per session, 2-4 times a week, for optimal benefits.

We recommend you use the sauna after your gym or tennis session and see a doctor if you have any pre-existing contraindicating medical issues.