Many of our home sauna customers are purchasing their sauna to add on to a home gym. Given this, many customers inquire whether it would be more beneficial to have their home sauna session before or after their workout. Read this post to see if using the sauna before or after working out.
The Case For Using a Sauna Before a Workout
The fact that a case can be made for using a Jacuzzi home sauna before a workout may come as a surprise to some people. It actually seems rationale when explained. When working out, many people jump right into their workout session without performing a proper warmup routine. In order to begin a workout, your muscles should be fully active. That you have broken a sweat, and performed 3-5 complete warmup sets before jumping into your workout.
That said, many fitness-goers (myself included) often fail to warmup properly. The benefits of using a sauna before your workout is that it actually warms your body up naturally. Saunas increase heart rate, heat up your muscles, and help you break a sweat.
There are three of the main reasons for performing a workout warm up routine at all. Given this, having a 10-15 sauna session before a workout can help to facilitate a proper warmup. While we would still recommend performing a few warm up sets before jumping right. Having a home sauna session before your workout starts can be of great benefit!
Using a Sauna After a Workout: Cautions
Of course, using a sauna after a workout is likely the most popular time to do. So, it’s no secret that it can provide many excellent benefits. However, it is important to be careful and to consider a couple of factors.
After a nice long workout, many people may be dehydrated. Because of a failure to properly hydrate themselves throughout the workout session. Unsurprisingly, adding a hot sweaty sauna session after the workout can only exacerbate this issue.
Harvard Health recommends immediately downing 2-4 full glasses of water post sauna session in order to properly rehydrate. This recommendation comes after a normal sauna session (not after a workout), so it is safe to assume that if you also worked out before without properly hydrating yourself, you should likely have even more water!
Those with Sensitive Heart Conditions
It’s also of no surprise that after a difficult workout, an individual’s heart rate may be at its peak. Harvard Health also showed that a sauna session can further increase an individual’s heart rate by close to 30% by exposure to the extreme heat. Given this, if you are someone who has underlying conditions, it is paramount to be extremely careful and not cause your heart to increase to a high level for a long amount of time.
The Benefits of using a Sauna After a Workout
Most proponents of using a sauna-post workout would likely claim that the reason. They have their sauna session post workout is for muscle-recovery related reasons, and this appears to be justified. A study on the effects of heat on male runners found deep penetration of infrared heat (approximately 3–4 cm into fat tissue and neuromuscular system) with mild temperature (35–50°C – 105-135F), and light humidity. During FIRS bathing appears favorable for the neuromuscular system to recover from maximal endurance performance.
One important caveat to the findings in this study is that it was on infrared heat. While many of our home sauna customers are purchasing infrared saunas to add to their home gyms, it is not always the case, so for the results of this study, it is important to keep in mind that it was infrared heat in particular that found these results.
Another study found that exposed runners to an extremely hot traditional sauna post workout found that 3 weeks of post-exercise sauna bathing produced a worthwhile enhancement of endurance running performance”. These changes had a high correlation amongst the participants with regards to changes in blood plasma.
Without delving into specifics, the post run sauna sessions changed how the blood’s internal chemistry changed, which enhanced endurance performance.
The answer, like most difficult questions, is “it depends”. If you are someone who is notorious for not performing a proper warmup routine prior to your workout, or if you have underlying health conditions that prevent you from sustaining a high heart rate, then having a sauna prior to your workout session may be the smartest choice for you.
However, if you are someone who is really looking for that edge to have your muscles recover faster, or if you are looking to increase your endurance, then there are proven studies that show an after workout sauna has many tremendous health benefits.
We advise to take the above factors into consideration with regards to your personal situation, and make the decision that is best for you.
If you are considering a home sauna purchase, we carry many of the top brands on the market. If you are not sure of the most important factors to consider or are looking for some particular recommendations, Sauna Distributor would recommend checking out our award winning blog on the Top Home Saunas of 2022.