The benefits of infrared sauna are numerous and well studied. Infrared sauna allows for deep penetration of heat into our tissues. Amongst the benefits of this are improved circulation, removal of metabolic waste products from out tissues and a reduction in stiffness, soreness and inflammation in the recovering athlete.3
Did you also know that Infrared Sauna can be used as a training technique to prolong the physical duration of our workouts.
During exercise our body temperature increases, our heart rate increase and the demand for oxygen from our tissues increase. Over time, with training, our bodies adapt to the demands of exercise and become more efficient. This is what We all recognize as athletic conditioning.
Prolonged sauna sessions of 30 minutes or more can produce many of the same physiologic changes as exercise. With prolonged heat exposure, our circulation needs increase. We will dilate our blood vessels, increase our heart rate and our muscles demand more circulation in order to cool themselves.
In short, many of the demands on our circulation system are the same for exercise and sauna. By using sauna immediately after our training sessions, we can trick our bodies into thinking we are still exercising and prolong the physical demands of exercise without actually lifting a muscle. Many studies have shown that specific sauna protocols, following exercise, during training, can improve our circulating blood plasma volumes. What does this mean? It means that we have expanded blood volumes, which means that we carry oxygen in our circulation more effectively allowing us to meet the demands of exercise more efficiently. World class athletes are using repeated infrared sauna sessions routinely in order receive this benefit. It’s seen as a completely safe and legal way to meet some of the benefits that others achieved with “blood doping”. 2
In addition to it’s beneficial effects on endurance, sauna is also a powerful tool for heat training and acclimatization for summer endurance events.1
Prolonging our physical response to exercise, increasing the efficiency of our circulation system, improving our heat tolerance . All while reducing muscular inflammation and fatigue. Yes, infrared sauna is a powerful tool. While many of us tend to think of it as something we are more likely to use in the winter, it actually has as many and perhaps more benefits for some athletes in the summer.
Whether you are in the build phase of training or weeks out from an endurance event we have you looked after. Recovery Lab has specific infrared sauna protocols that we tailor to each athlete’s and each individual’s specifics needs.
Need advice? Give us a call and our experts will be happy to develop a program specific to your needs.
1. Sauna Protocols for Athletes
2. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport
3. No Meat Athlete – Aaron Stuber, RN, BSN, DIPACLM