Take the Heat

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Here’s why the sauna life wants you to work up a sweat

After A workout, swim or even during a trip to the spa, it’s become commonplace to want to spend some time in a heated, enclosed box. Saunas have become commonplace in most health clubs, spas and resorts around the world but this isn’t a new concept. The Finnish and Native Americans have been using forms of saunas or ‘sweat lodges’ for over 2000 years due to their health benefits. If you’ve never used one or are curious to find out why you’re so fond of your sauna visits, here are some advantages of heating things up.

IT’s Great for Your Heart

It’s already known that saunas are relaxing spaces that allow you to de-stress and relax. Studies from Finland have even shown that regular visits to the sauna could help with heart health by lowering blood pressure in hypertensive individuals.

Detoxifies the Body

The human body was naturally built to get rid of toxins but with the current levels of pollution and chemicals that get into food sources, the body can do with a little assistance. One of the major ways the body flushes the bad stuff out is through perspiration and we all know how much sweating goes on in that hot box. In fact, some heavy metals and chemicals exit the body faster or more easily through sweat as opposed to other exit strategies. These include mercury, cadmium, arsenic and lead.

Calories Get Fried

Sitting in a sauna increases your cardiac output. Meaning, your circulation improves due to increased blood flow which leads to better muscle-oxygenation. This further results in an increased metabolic rate hence burnt calories. It’s estimated that you can burn up to 300 calories in a sauna session. While you would lose some weight, it would be water weight and will probably come back when you have some water. Therefore, this shouldn’t replace actual exercise. However, it can work in conjunction with a regular workout routine to improve exercise endurance and body’s tolerance to the physical activity. This would mean feeling less fatigue from your sessions and higher maintenance of energy levels for a longer period of time. That, and it helps with the pace of recovery which is great news for your strained and tired muscles.

Healthy Youthful Skin

Remember the old wives’ tale about steaming your face with a hot bowl of water? Now imagine that effect on your entire body. The sauna’s intense heat not only cleans the skin but hydrates it too for younger-looking skin. With increased blood flow, the skin will receive more nutrients for that suppleness you’re looking for. This is crucial especially for older women as the skin becomes less elastic with age. When this begins to happen, pores are clogged by the build-up of dead cells on the skin. The rush of nutrients to the skin encourages the production of new cells and the shedding off of dead ones. An added bonus is that time in the sauna activates the sebaceous glands on your scalp which conditions and moisturises your hair for a more luxurious mane sans products.

Immunity Booster

Feeling a little under the weather? A session in the sauna can do your immune system some good thanks to the fact that it stimulates your white blood cells. These cells are your body’s line of defence against ailments and infections. So the higher the count of white blood cells, the easier it is to stay healthy or heal faster from an illness.

Take Care Sauna Risks

Because it’s a hot box, it’s encouraged to drink two to four glasses before and after your session to properly hydrate your body. That being said, alcohol and food really should be avoided before a session to prevent dehydration and overheating. Most importantly, your session shouldn’t exceed 15 minutes, no matter how healthy you are. While saunas are relatively safe, it’s always best to seek advice from your general practitioner before embarking on regular sessions. However, for pregnant women, individuals with high blood pressure and heart-related disorders shouldn’t attempt saunas as the risk could outweigh the benefits.

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