Entering a sweat-inducing steam room after perspiring on the treadmill doesn’t seem exactly pleasant, but you might want to consider doing just that. Exercise gives your body and mind so many amazing health benefits, but you can compound those benefits by visiting a steam room right afterwards.
Let’s learn a bit more!
First: Are Steam Rooms and Saunas the Same?
Many people use the terms “steam room” and “sauna” interchangeably, although they are slightly different. Steam rooms and saunas both heat the body for relaxation and health benefits, but with one major difference – humidity. Steam rooms heat the body using moist, humid air. They usually boast 100 percent humidity. Temperatures range from 100 °F to 114 °F.
Saunas use dry air, with a lower humidity of between 5 to 30 percent. Temperatures in saunas are typically hotter than steam rooms, usually in the range of 160 °F to 200 °F. Many health benefits are shared between these two methods of heat-immersion bathing.
Several societies have used heat bathing throughout history. Finnish culture is credited with creating the first saunas. Turkish, Russian, Roman and Mesoamerican cultures traditionally used steam rooms. Today, you can probably find a sauna or steam room at your local gym.
Here are just some of the many benefits of using a steam room after a workout:
Relieve Tired Muscles
Working out can sometimes lead to tired muscles, especially if you push yourself to do exercises your body isn’t used to. Heat therapy has long been used to sooth sore muscles. A steam room is like using a heat pack on your whole body. A study from the University of Jyväskylä, Finland, showed that steam rooms and saunas can help athletes recover from strength and endurance training.1A Japanese study found that heat bathing also effectively helped patients diagnosed with chronic pain.2
Feel More Relaxed
Modern life is full of stress. Work, family demands, technology, and excessive worrying can take a toll on your mental and physical health. Exercise is a great way to relieve some of that stress. Using a steam bath after exercising can help you relieve even more stress by putting you into a state similar to meditation. Some steam room advocates even say visiting a steam room helps them sleep better at night by making them more relaxed during the day.
Increase Athletic Performance
A New Zealand study demonstrated how the use of heat bathing can help athletic performance.3 The study focused on male long-distance runners, who used a sauna after their workouts. The next day, they were tested to see how long they could run on a treadmill. The participants increased the amount of time they could run by 32 percent after using the sauna.
Although visiting a steam room can lead to a small amount of weight loss, it should be noted that this loss is usually from fluids. A study conducted in a dry sauna found that sedentary students had Body Mass Loss (BML) when visiting the sauna for two 10-minute sessions.4 Be sure to properly hydrate after working out, as well as after visiting a steam room.
For a Healthy Heart
Several studies have shown that steam rooms are beneficial to heart health. A study conducted on men in Finland found that heat bathing protected study participants from fatal heart problems such as Sudden Cardiac Death, Fatal Cardiovascular Disease and Fatal Coronary Heart Disease.5
Breathe More Clearly
Steam baths can open up your sinuses to help you breathe.6 This is very helpful for people who have colds or certain medical conditions, such as asthma and chronic bronchitis.7 Researchers think this may be due to increased pulmonary functioning. However, doctors recommend not using steam rooms and saunas if you have a respiratory infection.8
For Beautiful, Healthy Skin
Steam rooms have long been touted as beneficial to skin care. They are especially helpful after a workout to open and cleanse pores. Steam rooms are also good for your skin because they increase blood flow and circulation, which can give your skin a youthful, healthy glow.9
How Long Should You Stay in a Steam Room?
Relax in your gym’s steam room for no more than 30 minutes per visit. But if you feel any sort of discomfort, leave. Many people find just 10 minutes in a steam room helps them feel relaxed for the rest of the day. Make sure to drink plenty of water since sweating can dehydrate you.
Your gym has a steam room because heat bathing and exercise go hand in hand. Experience the benefits of a steam bath after your workout to feel your healthiest and most relaxed.
For more helpful health news, keep reading:
1. Mero, Antti et al. “Effects Of Far-Infrared Sauna Bathing On Recovery From Strength And Endurance Training Sessions In Men”. N.p., 2015. Print.
2. Masuda, A. “The Effects Of Repeated Thermal Therapy For Patients With Chronic Pain”. Karger.com. N.p., 2005. Web. 28 Feb. 2017.
3. Scoon GS, et al. “Effect Of Post-Exercise Sauna Bathing On The Endurance Performance Of Competitive Male Runners. – Pubmed – NCBI”. Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. N.p., 2007. Web. 28 Feb. 2017.
4. Podstawski, Robert et al. “Sauna-Induced Body Mass Loss In Young Sedentary Women And Men”. N.p., 2014. Print.
5. Podstawski, Robert et al. “Sauna-Induced Body Mass Loss In Young Sedentary Women And Men”. N.p., 2014. Print.
6. “Natural Remedy Options For Asthma Treatment”. EverydayHealth.com. N.p., 2017. Web. 28 Feb. 2017.
7. S, Hannuksela. “Benefits And Risks Of Sauna Bathing. – Pubmed – NCBI”. Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. N.p., 2001. Web. 28 Feb. 2017.
8. Laitinen LA, et al. “Lungs And Ventilation In Sauna. – Pubmed – NCBI”. Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. N.p., 1988. Web. 28 Feb. 2017.
9. I, Vuori. “Sauna Bather’s Circulation. – Pubmed – NCBI”. Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. N.p., 1988. Web. 28 Feb. 2017.