The three key steps for optimal cooling down after saunas
- Fresh Air: After your sauna session, get out into the fresh air and breathe deeply to refresh your airways and stabilize your circulation.
- Cold Water: Gradually cool down with cold water, starting with the extremities and working your way to the upper body.
- Relax: After cooling down, take a rest to regenerate the body and get the full benefits of the sauna.
The importance of cooling down properly after a sauna session
For many people, a sauna session is synonymous with relaxation and recreation. The soothing heat, the sweating and the calm atmosphere all contribute to the relaxation of body and mind. However, just as important as sweating in the sauna is cooling down properly afterward. Proper cooling down ensures that the body gets the most benefit from the sauna and that risks are avoided.
Step-by-step instructions for optimal cooling down
The sauna is a place for relaxation and regeneration, and while sweating in the heat has many benefits, cooling down afterward is just as important. Cooling down properly will ensure that you get the full benefits of the sauna and avoid any potential risks.
- Get some fresh air: after a 20-minute sauna session, be sure to cool off in the fresh air. A few deep breaths will help refresh your respiratory system and prepare your circulatory system for the temperature change. This step will also clear your head and prepare you for the next cooling steps.
- Breath Cool Down: Breathe in and out steadily for about 5 minutes. This process helps to slowly adjust the body to the outside temperature and stabilize circulation.
- Cold water: Going under the splash shower is excellent. When doing this, start at the extremities and work your way up to the upper body. This gradual approach ensures that the body does not go into shock and that circulation remains stable.
- Immersion: Immersion in a cold pool invigorates the body and closes the pores that opened during the sauna session.
- Relaxation: afterward, allow yourself 30–60 minutes of rest in a relaxation room or on a lounger. This gives the body a chance to recover and take full advantage of saunas.
Common sauna mistakes and how to avoid them
A sauna session is a soothing and relaxing affair that offers numerous benefits for both the body and the mind. However, while many enjoy the warming effects of the sauna, there are also some common mistakes that can compromise the health benefits.
- Going to the sauna too quickly: Going to the sauna immediately after an intense workout can overwhelm the body. Therefore, you should give your body time to recover before going to the sauna.
- Excessive activity: excessive movement or conversation in the sauna can strain the circulation and interfere with relaxation.
- Exercise after sauna: Give your body a recovery break of at least 2 hours after a sauna session before exercising again.
- Skipping the cool-down: Proper cooling down is important to achieve the full relaxation effect and to bring the body back to its normal temperature.
- Taking a sauna when ill: If you have symptoms of illness or are feeling unwell, avoid the sauna to avoid putting additional stress on your body.
Health benefits of fresh air and cold water after the sauna
- Laukkanen and his team (2001) studied the effects of fresh air after sauna. Result: it increases heart rate and lowers blood pressure. This study was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
- APOTHEKEN UMSCHAU report: Sauna: How the body benefits.
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