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Sauna as Post Workout Treat: Keep the Summer Heat in Mind

Recently I posted about ways to reward yourself for a workout well done, and one of those (and my favorite) is taking a sauna. I don't need to tell you about how great it feels. What I do need to tell you is you to hold off on jumping into the sauna, hot tub or steam room immediately after finishing your workout.

The heat from outdoors combined with the heat of the sauna can have a detrimental effect on your body. After working out, you already have elevated temperatures and your blood vessels are dilated. The heat needs to dissipate in order to bring your heart rate back to your resting zone and to bring blood back to your vital organs - cool downs are not just about finding time to stretch. So instead of rushing into more heat that can cause lightheadedness, dizziness, fatigue, nausea or worse, heat exhaustion, heat stroke and heart attacks, try a cool shower instead. Basically you need to allow your heart rate to return to resting levels before treating yourself to some relaxing heat at the end of your workout.


Join The Conversation
ragus ragus 9 years
I work at a hospital and met a patient one day who had been out in the winter cold and decided it would be fun to go hottubbing ... after he got out his body could not handle the heat/cold and he collapsed.... he ended up falling and breaking his neck making him the quadriplegic he is today. Changing your body tempature quickly is very dangerous.
Feesje Feesje 10 years
I LOVE taking a sauna. In winter, after taking a sauna I just cool off outside in the freeze on a long chair, with just a towel over me. You can litterally see the heat coming off! Thanks for the tips söderskär!
söderskär söderskär 10 years
As someone who's from Finland and has been going to the sauna every day (including when I was only in my mother's womb, heck, I was probably conceived in there ;) ), I advise you to sprinkle plenty of ice-cold water on yourself, especially onto the top of your head before you go to the sauna. I always take an ice cold shower before I go in, then I alternate sauna with cold showers. Now I'm at our summer cottage with my boyfriend and we dive straight into the cold lake when we come out from sauna, then go right back in. You should alternate the two (cold water and hot sauna) again and again. If you're a beginner (I mean if you have been going to the sauna only a few times or irregularly), sit on the lowest bench, where it's less hot and less steamy. When you sprinkle water onto the sauna rocks, sit back onto the bench and bow your head down, because the steam goes straight up toward the ceiling, making it difficult to breathe. Besides, the steam is pretty hot too and it burns. But I love it. We Finns like to whip ourselves with birch branches in the sauna, which is great for blood circulation. It has the same effect as a very good massage, but it's more intense. Keep in mind to constantly pour cold water onto yourself, even while you're sitting in there. And take something to drink with you. Me and my friends like to drink beer or cider in the sauna and we always take plenty of water with us. I'm not saying that you should get drunk, but make sure you've got something to drink in there (water, juice, anything). Sauna is extremely healthy, especially if you have a cold or menstruation cramps. It's also great for the skin. I never had a zit in my whole life nor any other skin problems. (Also because I eat very healthily and I exercise daily, and so does the great majority of people who live here.) However, be careful with the sauna if you have problems with your blood pressure or with your heart.
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