How many times have you walked by our locker room sauna and told yourself, “Today’s the day I’m gonna give it a try,” only to chicken out and leave? Well, consider this your official invite to start sweating someplace other than our fitness center, yoga studio or basketball court!
If you’re a novice sauna-goer, continue reading for tips and tricks on getting the most out of your sweat sessions. But first, let’s highlight the advantages of adding a sauna to your health and wellness routine.
The Secret To Sweating
Etage Athletic Trainer Ashton Poage believes saunas are the secret to muscle recovery. “The heat produced in a sauna helps to expand blood vessels, which increases circulation and helps with muscle tension. This is key when it comes to easing stubborn soreness,” he says.
Paoge also touts the benefits of sauna usage for reducing inflammation, improving skin tone and texture, boosting the immune system and even helping with weight loss. Additionally, he says, the sauna improves his mental clarity and relaxation.
Saunas can have a positive effect on sleep and energy levels as well, as we’ve elaborated on here in the past.
Sauna Safety and Rules
If you’ve never set foot in a sauna, Poage recommends spending just 10 minutes in one, then slowly increasing your stay week by week. Just don’t ever exceed 20 minutes without taking an extended break from the heat, he cautions. Personally, Poage says he find two to three sauna sessions a week to prove most beneficial.
For some, the sauna can be rather intimidating. Many worry about how their body will react to the 150 to near 200 degree temperature. Some fear breaking sauna etiquette.
To assuage any concerns you may have, we offer the following suggestions for looking – and feeling – like you’ve been at the sauna thing for years:
1. Drink a glass of water before and after your sauna session to stay adequately hydrated.
2. Shower before entering if you’ve just wrapped up a workout.
3. Bring a towel to sit or stretch out on, and avoid the latter if space is tight due to crowding.
4. Make a quick entrance (and exit) to avoid releasing too much of the heat.
5. Converse quietly if at all.
6. Never do any personal grooming while in a sauna.
You should never feel dizzy or ill in a sauna, so remove yourself immediately if those problems arise during a session. And along those lines, if you have high blood pressure, diabetes, heart failure and other health conditions, ask your doctor how safe saunas are before using them.
Always avoid a sauna if you’ve:
• consumed alcohol
• used recreational drugs
• eaten a large meal
• taken medication that causes drowsing or limits your body’s ability to regulate temperature
Still have questions about using a sauna? The staff at Etage Athletic Club would be happy to help. Stop by the front desk or contact us online any time. Otherwise, we encourage you to try the sauna out the next time you’re here. They’re located in the men’s and women’s locker rooms and available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Don’t sweat the sauna … unless you’re relaxing in it!