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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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Last Updated on December 2, 2018

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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Review Your Past Flow

Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

    Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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