How Long Should You Stay in a Sauna?
Sauna bathing has lots of benefits - detoxifying, reduction of cellulite and stress relief to name a few. In fact, research has shown that the heat provided by a sauna provides great cardiovascular improvements. The benefits are basically boundless, but like virtually everything in human existence, it has to be regulated. This article serves to answer your question: how long should you stay in a sauna?
Benefits of the sauna
Though the debate is still ongoing on whether saunas help to detoxify and remove cellulite, there is well-documented research that shows the ability of heat (hyperthermic conditioning) to improve general body performance.
So, some of the abundant benefits of heat conditioning include:
- Increased Endurance: Much like running a marathon, a sauna increases the amount of blood flowing to the heart, leading to reduced strain on the heart. This means heart rate is lowered for the same workload. This works, whether you’re athletic or not.
- Note, however, this doesn’t serve as a substitute to exercise, since all parts of the body are better suited to work for your purpose after exercise.
- Faster Recovery: The resulting increase in blood flow to the body organs keeps them constantly fueled with glucose, fatty acids and oxygen, all the while facilitating removal of by-products like lactic acid.
- This increased direct delivery causes reduced dependence on glycogen, essentially causing the organs to work less and achieve more.
- Increased Muscle: Intermittent hyperthermic treatment induces a robust expression of heat shock proteins in muscle and, most importantly, correlates with more muscle regrowth.
- Increased Insulin Sensitivity: Though still theoretical, scientists suggest that considering the increase in the rate of muscle regrowth, this may be as a result of improving insulin sensitivity and decreasing muscle protein catabolism.
Dangers of overstaying the sauna
Despite all the benefits it provides, much like anything, really, too much of it is really dangerous, and you should always a limit to how long can you stay in a sauna
- Fainting: Staying in the sauna too long has a sauna will elevate your blood pressure, at times to dangerous levels, causing you to pass out.
- Fainting in itself isn’t the only danger. It also exposes you to additional dangers like tearing up of ligaments and tendons, which in turn could take months to heal.
- Stroke: When your body temperature is raised that high for extended periods of time, it exposes your body to a type of stroke, which, like all strokes, is lethal
- Elevated blood pressure: The worst possible thing you could do afterward is to plunge yourself into cold water. This will create a sudden change in temperature, creating a shock to the body and an additional sudden change in blood pressure.
- Organ damage: High body temperatures like those the sauna causes over long use could also do significant damage to major organs like your kidneys and brain (which is why you shouldn’t lock a child or pet in the car).
- Dehydration: Dehydration is also another significant problem posed by saunas. Sure, it feels nice and warm, and you never really want to leave, but you should have a bottle of water which you take at regular intervals. Never cool your body all at once.
- Some signs of overheating or dehydration include fatigue, dizziness, nausea, headache and stomach cramps. If you experience any of these, step out of the sauna immediately and have some water to drink.
A few minutes a day is all it takes to look and feel better. The body’s response to gentle, persistent heat is well-documented and proven day in and out by people all over the world. This is why more and more doctors are recommending its purifying benefits.
How long should I stay in a sauna?
How long to stay in a sauna if you’re new? You will usually take a considerable less amount of time than the people who have done it before.How long to stay in a sauna if you’re new? You will usually take a considerable less amount of time than the people who have done it before.
- Your first session should not be any longer than 10 minutes. Staying in the sauna is not a competitive sport, and you won’t gain by to staying in longer than you’re comfortable. If anything, it’s only destructive.
- Once the ten minutes are up, take a cool shower (make sure you watch the water temperature), then go back for another session. It should be roughly the same amount of time.
- After the second session, take a warm shower and a glass of water. After that, just relax and take it easy.
- Once you’re more acquainted with the sauna, you can then extend your sessions to a 15 minutes, and progressively increase it to a maximum of 30 to 45 minutes.
- Ensure you remember to take the cool shower in between sessions.
- Heat tolerance differs from person to person, and you should always listen to your body. If you start to feel dehydrated, lightheaded or dizzy, it’s time to take a break.
Saunas are generally relaxing for everyone, especially after a long day at the gym to relieve sore muscles. However, ensure you limit the experience to a safe amount of time.
So, how long should you stay in a sauna, more likely, how long should you sit in a sauna? The answer is 10-15 minutes for newbies, 30 - 45 minutes for veterans.
Sauna versus Steam Room Comparision chart
Saunas offer both wet and dry sessions.
A steam room is generally designed for very wet and hot health treatment.
Usually made of wood
Usually made of glass
Saunas usually have a stove located inside to generate heat.
Steam rooms have an external steam generator.
Typically between 70°C-100°C (158 °F - 212 °F)
Typically between 115 to 120° F (40°C)
Helps in muscle stimulation, reducing stress hormones, lower blood pressure and improve cardiovascular health.
Detoxification through perspiration; the steam soothes sinus irritation; Chest congestion from asthma is also relieved.
Sudden humidity may sometimes scald bathers if the room is too hot. A session in a sauna may also lead to excessive thirst.
Symptoms of too much heat include dizziness, vertigo, rapid heartbeat or excessive thirst.
People who don’t like moist heat may prefer dry heat sessions in a sauna.
People who cannot endure dry heat generally prefer steam rooms.
Both dry and moist sessions.
Very high. Typically close to 100%
Use of towels
While nudity is common in saunas, towels may be used, especially to avoid sitting on hot wooden benches.
Towels are generally not used in private steam rooms but the rules of etiquette vary. Towels are recommended in public steam rooms like those at the gym.