Sauna and muscles: More than just relaxation
First of all, why should you go to the sauna after training in the first place? The sauna has been proven to be an effective way to aid muscle recovery and growth. Wondering how this works? Let’s find out together.
The sauna as a muscle booster
Studies from various countries, including a major study from Spain, have shown that regular sauna sessions after training have a significant effect on muscle growth. How is this possible? The answer lies in the explosion of heat that takes place in the body. This heat stimulates the production of heat shock proteins, which in turn boost muscle protein synthesis. The result: more muscle mass and better recovery after training.
The role of growth hormones
It is not only protein synthesis that is stimulated. The concentration of growth hormones in the blood also increases in the sauna. These hormones are crucial for muscle growth. They are normally released during physical exertion and sleep, but the sauna provides an additional source of these valuable hormones.
Practical tips for a sauna session after training
- Regeneration before the sauna: Give your body enough time to recover after training. Ideally, you should rest for around 20 minutes before entering the sauna. Use this time to stretch or relax.
- Hydration is important: Don’t forget to drink enough before and after your sauna session. Sauna and sport can lead to a considerable loss of fluids. A good fluid intake is crucial to avoid circulatory problems and to provide the body with optimum support.
- Listen to your body: Everyone reacts differently to high temperatures. Pay attention to your body’s signals and do not exceed your limits. If you feel unwell, dizzy or nauseous, leave the sauna immediately.
Is the temperature important?
Yes, the temperature is crucial. The studies mentioned, particularly those from Spain, focused on higher temperatures, usually above 100°C (212 °F), and showed remarkable effects on muscle growth. These high temperatures seem to be particularly effective. However, further research is needed to determine whether saunas at lower temperatures can have a similar positive effect.
A word of warning
While saunas at high temperatures can be beneficial, they should not be used alone. There is always a risk of overheating. It is particularly important to drink sufficient fluids and electrolytes after an intensive workout.
Regularity for optimal results
To get the maximum benefit, it is advisable to go to the sauna two to three times a week after training. Remember, it’s not just about a one-off visit, but a regular practice to support your fitness goals.
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