After you workout, one of the first places you head for is a shower and a sauna and that’s because it’s a great way to revitalise your tired muscles as well as aiding recovery post-exercise. Additionally, lots of people use a sauna just to refresh their minds and use it as for relaxation. Well, saunas before exercise, after exercise or even without exercise can always be beneficial. In fact, Finish athletes take sauna twice a week, with positive results, according to this study. However, you might hear different schools of thought. Some people believe that you should only take a sauna post-workout whereas others always factor in a sauna pre-exercise, but which is best and is there a rule?

Taking a Sauna Before Exercise

There’s a reason a sauna is usually available at a gym or health club and that’s because it’s used to loosen up muscles pre-workout as well as after exercise. Taking a sauna for only few minutes before you hit the running machine or lift weights will prevent possible injury. Not only that, a sauna helps your body to warm up before it endures its exercise routine. It increases metabolism and heart rate while at the same time, it relaxes the muscles. If you do decide to take a sauna before you exercise, you shouldn’t break a sweat; just get your body hot enough to warm up your muscles.

Of course, if you plan to take a sauna before working out remember you will still lose water, because your body dehydrates. It’s really important to rehydrate before your workout and to keep drinking water throughout exercise as well as post-exercise. If you don’t your body will lose vital electrolytes and you could feel faint. You should also wait fifteen minutes after your sauna before undertaking any exertion.

Taking a Sauna Post Workout

You’re probably used to seeing lots of people pile into the sauna after they’ve been to the gym. There are lots of positives to doing this, firstly, you will keep your metabolism raised so even after you’ve stopped exercising; your body will continue to burn calories.
More importantly, taking a sauna after you’ve worked out will help your body to get rid of nasty toxins from your body. Your body will sweat out lactic acid too, this is what builds up in your muscles during exercise and getting rid of it aids muscle recovery. That means you’ll be less likely to ache the next day. Don’t spend longer than 15 minutes in a sauna after working out and don’t force the temperature up too high, you’ll deplete your energy levels and over dehydrate your body.

Again, always remember to drink plenty of water after exercising, particularly if you take a sauna as well. Your body will crave water as it will be dehydrated.

Is there a rule?

There is no rule, but always shower before you enter a sauna for other people’s comfort. Even post-workout a quick shower is all you need to get rid of any dirt on your body!

Conclusion: sauna before or after workout?

  • Take a sauna before working out for less than five minutes (don’t break a sweat) to warm up your muscles
  • Take a sauna post-workout for approximately 10 to 15 minutes to get rid of lactic acid and toxins, help your muscles recover and prevent muscle-ache

Carmen is an entrepreneur and content marketer. In a former life, as a corporate business executive, she relied on yoga, reflexology and other alternative practices to fight stress, anxiety and find balance. She’s on a mission to build healthy habits for a balanced, healthy life, connecting body, mind and spirit.