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Why Hitting the Sauna After A Grueling Workout Is A Good Idea

Why Hitting the Sauna After A Grueling Workout Is A Good Idea

Typically a workout at the gym includes stretching, cardio, and/or weights. Though this regimen seems complete, it is missing something that could be vital—a visit to the sauna. Most gyms have one, but they are often overlooked because they are seen as a treat as opposed to something that will benefit one’s overall wellness. Many cultures include visits to a sauna as part of a routine to maintain their health thanks to the healing and cleansing properties of a sauna. These rooms will reach a temperature between 160 and 200 degrees Fahrenheit with low humidity.

How it Works

While working out does leave a person dripping with sweat, a sauna will provoke this same physical response without the effort of working out. When taking part in sweating in a sauna, the average person’s pulse will raise 30 percent as the blood flow works to cool the skin. While the circulatory system work on this, it is possible for a person to sweat out around 1 pint of fluid in as little as 20 minutes.

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Detoxification

Many popular claims are made about the health benefits of saunas, but there is not a lot of scientific research available to support them. In general, sweating has been seen as a cleansing practice that holds many health benefits, and many supporters of the practice say that sweating will detoxify the body. The truth is that certain environmental contaminants will work their way into the tissue of the body, and sweating does play a small role in working to detoxify. The real detoxification of the body happens in the liver, lungs, and kidneys.

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Athletic Performance

Research has shown that three weeks of sauna usage after exercise will increase an athlete’s endurance, likely because blood volume is increased. More research has proven that 30 minutes in the sauna will boost power and strength in healthy young men. Hitting the sauna after a workout will also accelerate the recovery of muscles.

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Weight Loss

In addition to the other health benefits of a sauna, spending time in a sauna will aid in those who are actively working to lose weight, though the weight loss benefits overall are many times exaggerated. Exercising in the heat has the ability to boost the metabolism by a small amount but likely will not cause a significant boost in caloric burn, while sitting still and sweating will help to burn just a few extra calories in addition to what has been burned in a workout.

Heart Health

For the most part, it is not advised for heart patients to take part in sweating in a sauna because the heart rate will jump anywhere from 100 to 160 beats per minute. Keeping this in mind, some studies have shown that men who suffer from hypertension that visit the sauna two times a week could experience a decrease in their blood pressure. 20 minutes would be a substantial amount of time to spend in the sauna, and hydration is always important. If you are at risk for high blood pressure, consult your physician prior to visiting a sauna.

Other Benefits

After a hard workout, stepping into the sauna will help to relieve sore muscles. Many times, advice is given to those suffering with arthritis to spend some time sweating. Chronic fatigue and asthma are other diagnoses that will benefit from a sauna visit. Studies have shown that using a sauna will lower the blood pressure, improve insulin sensitivity, and strengthen vascular function. Those without chronic diseases will also see benefits such as a decrease in LDL (bad) cholesterol as well as a decrease in total cholesterol after a few weeks of regular sauna usage.

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Sasha Brown

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Last Updated on June 20, 2019

Science Says Guitar Players’ Brains Are Different From Others’

Science Says Guitar Players’ Brains Are Different From Others’

There’s nothing quite like picking up a guitar and strumming out some chords. Listening to someone playing the guitar can be mesmerising, it can evoke emotion and a good guitar riff can bring out the best of a song. Many guitar players find a soothing, meditative quality to playing, along with the essence of creating music or busting out an acoustic version of their favourite song. But how does playing the guitar affect the brain?

More and more scientific studies have been looking into how people who play the guitar have different brain functions compared to those who don’t. What they found was quite astonishing and backed up what many guitarists may instinctively know deep down.

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Guitar Players’ Brains Can Synchronise

You didn’t read that wrong! Yes, a 2012 study[1] was conducted in Berlin that looked at the brains of guitar players. The researchers took 12 pairs of players and got them to play the same piece of music while having their brains scanned.

During the experiment, they found something extraordinary happening to each pair of participants – their brains were synchronising with each other. So what does this mean? Well, the neural networks found in the areas of the brain associated with social cognition and music production were most activated when the participants were playing their instruments. In other words, their ability to connect with each other while playing music was exceptionally strong.

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Guitar Players Have a Higher Intuition

Intuition is described as “the ability to understand something instinctively, without the need for conscious reasoning” and this is exactly what’s happening when two people are playing the guitar together.

The ability to synchronise their brains with each other, stems from this developed intuitive talent indicating that guitar players have a definite spiritual dexterity to them. Not only do their brains synchronise with another player, but they can also even anticipate what is to come before and after a set of chords without consciously knowing. This explains witnessing a certain ‘chemistry’ between players in a band and why many bands include brothers who may have an even stronger connection.

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This phenomenon is actually thought to be down to the way guitarists learn how to play – while many musicians learn through reading sheet music, guitar players learn more from listening to others play and feeling their way through the chords. This also shows guitarists have exceptional improvisational skills[2] and quick thinking.

Guitar Players Use More of Their Creative, Unconscious Brain

The same study carried out a different experiment, this time while solo guitarists were shredding. They found that experienced guitar players were found to deactivate the conscious part of their brain extremely easily meaning they were able to activate the unconscious, creative and less practical way of thinking more efficiently.

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This particular area of the brain – the right temporoparietal junction – typically deactivates with ‘long term goal orientation’ in order to stop distractions to get goals accomplished. This was in contrast to the non-guitarists who were unable to shut off the conscious part of their brain which meant they were consciously thinking more about what they were playing.

This isn’t to say that this unconscious way of playing can’t be learnt. Since the brain’s plasticity allows new connections to be made depending on repeated practice, the guitar player’s brain can be developed over time but it’s something about playing the guitar in particular that allows this magic to happen.

Conclusion

While we all know musicians have very quick and creative brains, it seems guitar players have that extra special something. Call it heightened intuition or even a spiritual element – either way, it’s proven that guitarists are an exceptional breed unto themselves!

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Featured photo credit: Lechon Kirb via unsplash.com

Reference

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