Post-Workout Sauna: Why You Should Try It

You may have seen or heard of health clubs or gyms having saunas in the locker room for post-workout relaxation. But are they only used to relax, or is there something more beneficial to it?

Well, saunas can indeed be beneficial. In this blog, we’ll dig into the post-workout benefits saunas offer. Read on to learn more about how saunas work and how they can improve your workout gains.

It Relaxes Your Muscles & Releases Endorphins

Spending a few minutes in a sauna after your workout relaxes the mind and muscles due to the high temperatures your body experiences during a bathing session. The high heat of a sauna increases blood circulation. A better blood flow carries higher volumes of oxygen to your body, which results in a faster replacement of worn-out cells. Also, the heat stimulates the production of endorphins, known as the feel-good hormones. The reason endorphins are known as the feel-good hormones is due to being in charge of reducing pain and discomfort. On top of reducing pain, endorphins also promote a sense of well-being and relaxation. This can help contribute to an improvement to overall mood and mental health. 

It Relieves Muscle Pain

The dry heat of the sauna can cause the skin’s temperature to reach up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit within minutes. This fever-like effect can help relieve muscle pain caused by prolonged or intense training sessions. The heat effects of the sauna will also help to remove lactic acid from your muscles. A build up of lactic acid can lead to soreness, stiffness and fatigue. Therefore deliberate heat exposure will help you to recover faster from your workout. According to the Harvard Medical School, blood flow nearly doubles when in a sauna. As the blood flow increases, the muscles become more relaxed and recover quicker. 

It Removes Metabolic Waste

Detoxification through sweating is a natural process that can help rid your body of toxins. You can expect to sweat about a pint of water after spending a few minutes in the sauna. That sweat contains a lot of metabolic waste products. Most people do not sweat regularly enough, which leads to a toxic build-up in the body. For this reason, the deep sweating that a sauna causes will help release such minerals as nickel, mercury, lead, copper, and zinc. This makes the sauna a great way to undergo a painless body detox. By using the sauna regularly you can increase the body’s natural detox mechanisms and promote overall health.

Helps Lose Water Retention

Saunas can help in reducing water retention. By inducing sweating, saunas facilitate the release of excess water weight from the body, which can be particularly advantageous for those looking to alleviate bloating or temporary weight fluctuations due to water retention. This process can aid in achieving a temporary reduction in overall body weight, primarily through the elimination of excess fluids. It is important to note that the weight lost in saunas is primarily water weight and can be quickly regained upon rehydration.

Greater Endurance

Research evidence suggests that bathing in a sauna after exercise can improve your workout endurance. A 2007 study conducted at Otago University in New Zealand tracked male runners taking 30-minute baths at 190°F after their endurance training sessions for three weeks. Results showed that all athletes increased their running endurance. Researchers speculated that by improving the cardiovascular of the runners, their oxygen levels improved, which resulted in enhanced endurance. The research given can improve athletes and fitness enthusiasts endurance, when they make saunas a part of their workout routines. 

What affects the duration of a sauna session after exercise?

The duration of a sauna session after exercise is influenced by the intensity of the workout. Light workouts may be followed by sauna sessions lasting up to 15 minutes, while moderate or high-intensity exercises warrant sessions capped at 10 minutes. In the case of extremely intense workouts, it is advisable to skip the sauna altogether and prioritize your well-being over heat exposure. It’s important to consider the level of exertion during the workout when deciding how long to stay in the sauna after exercising for optimal health benefits.

Skin Cleansing

People worldwide have used saunas to clean and purify the skin for thousands of years. The deep sweating associated with sauna use will remove dead skin cells, boosting the natural life cycle of the skin. Bacteria is flushed from the epidermis and removed with sweat. Circulation of the capillaries is also enhanced through sweating, which keeps the skin looking soft and supple.

It Improves Your Cardiovascular Fitness

Your heart rate will increase up to 120-140 beats per minute during an average sauna session. Then, when you leave the sauna, the heart rate is likely to drop below your resting level. These changes increase your cardiac output, and your heart muscles become stronger.

To make your sauna experience even more beneficial, you can divide sauna “sets.” Spend 10 minutes in the sauna, and then take a 2 to 3-minute break to cool down. Repeat this process three or four times. The quick temperature change will elevate your heart rate by up to 60%. This will cause a similar effect to doing moderate cardio exercise.

Is it better to sauna before or after a workout?

Going to the sauna before a workout may elevate the chances of experiencing muscle injury and dehydration. That being said, to receive the max benefits of both sauna sessions and exercise, it is generally safer and more efficient to utilize the sauna post-workout. Doing so will improve 

Calorie Burn

The high heat levels of a sauna cause an increased metabolic rate which can burn calories. Also, the very act of sweating is a calorie-burning activity that requires energy derived from stored carbohydrates and fat.

According to Ward Dean, M.D., a medical researcher in the US Army, “a moderately conditioned person can easily sweat off 500 grams in a sauna in a single session.”

People who are overweight are likely to burn even more calories. So, even though the sauna is not a miraculous fat-burning machine, it can be a valuable tool in your fat-burning arsenal.

It Helps You to Sleep Better

When you exercise, especially if you are engaged in weight training, you are causing major stress to your muscles. Each workout causes micro-tears to the worked muscle fiber. It is only through proper post-workout nutrition and rest that the fibers can grow back bigger and stronger than they were in the first place. That is why sleep is so important. If you don’t get quality sleep, you will not fully recover from your training and, as a result, will not fully benefit from it.


By incorporating sauna sessions into your post-workout routine, you can aid muscle recovery, improve cardiovascular health, and promote relaxation. Remember, sauna usage should be approached with caution, especially for those with certain medical conditions or concerns. Always listen to your body and consult with a healthcare professional if you have any doubts.

Now, are you ready to take your post-workout routine to the next level? Give the sauna a try and experience the amazing benefits it has to offer.