Does Exercise + Sauna Improve Cardiovascular Function?

Previous research has found that heat exposure while bathing in a sauna is positively associated with cardiovascular function. However, most studies have been fairly short (two to four weeks) and have explored the response to heat therapy in athletes.


Long-term studies of physically inactive people are still lacking.

Benefits of Sauna Bath After Workout

In this new study, the team studied adult volunteers between the ages of 30 and 64 who had a ‘desktop’ job and exercised for less than 30 minutes per week.

All volunteers also had at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, smoking, or a family history of coronary heart disease.

Volunteers were randomly assigned to three groups:

  • One group engaged in resistance and aerobic exercise three times a week for 50 minutes.
  • One group engaged in endurance and aerobic exercise three times a week for 50 minutes each, followed by a 15-minute sauna session. A control group did not participate in exercise or sauna bathing.

Sauna exposure starts at 149º F and increases to 41º F every two weeks. Participants were free to leave the sauna 15 minutes in advance if they were uncomfortable with the heat, but they completed each sauna session fully.

After eight weeks of intervention, the researchers found that the maximum rate of oxygen consumption increased—A key marker of cardiac respiratory function — in both exercise groups compared with controls.

More importantly, the sauna group showed a greater increase in maximal oxygen consumption and decreased total cholesterol levels and systolic blood pressure compared with the exercise-only group.

“This study opens the door to investigating shorter bursts of regular exercise in conjunction with sauna use and in support of regular sauna bathing as a possible alternative treatment.” Steam baths are a safe and simple way to make a lifestyle change, and researchers have written steps to make it more accessible in Global.

“Sauna bathing can also be effectively incorporated into a wide range of health care facilities,” says Earric Lee, University of Jyväskylä, Faculty of Sports and Health Sciences in Finland, and author of the study. other compatibility recovery.

Source: Newswise

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