You know what’s hot these days? Saunas!
They’ve been around for ages for relaxation and health benefits, but can they really boost your performance?
Sauna usage has some pretty cool benefits for athletes, like increased blood flow and oxygen delivery to your muscles, better cardiovascular function, and improved endurance. All this thanks to the heat stress that saunas provide. When you’re exposed to heat, your blood vessels dilate, sending more blood to your skin and muscles, delivering more oxygen and nutrients, which can boost your endurance performance!
A study from 2015 showed that after four weeks of sauna usage, male distance runners improved their running time to exhaustion significantly compared to those who didn’t use the sauna. Another study from 2018 found that sauna usage is an effective way to adapt your body to exercising in hot conditions, which could be a game-changer for those of you competing in hot environments.
Sauna usage has other health benefits that indirectly affect your endurance performance. For instance, it can improve immune function and reduce inflammation, which contributes to overall health and well-being.
Don’t go spending all day in the sauna though. Too much sauna usage can lead to dehydration, which can cause health problems and impair your performance. So, it’s essential to stay hydrated during as well as pre & post your sauna sessions.
Sauna usage is a great tool to enhance your performance, but it’s not a substitute for proper training and conditioning. You should still follow a well-designed training program, focus on nutrition, and prioritize recovery.
So while sauna usage can give you a competitive edge, it’s not a magic bullet. So, be smart about it and always prioritise your health and training program. Saunas can be hot stuff, but remember to use them wisely, aim for 2-3 sessions per week for around 20-30 minutes, tack them on to a training session for best results.