Summer is around the corner and the gyms are flooded with people trying to build an impressive set of abs, biceps, calves or what not. What if we told you a session in the sauna might speed up the process?
The history of sauna bathing goes way back, both in many european countries and in large parts of Asia. In some countries, such as Finland, you find saunas in almost every home. Traditionally the sauna has been used for relaxation and cleansing, but today saunas are becoming increasingly used to achieve a number of specific health and fitness benefits.
One group that is quickly discovering the gains of sauna bathing are athletes, and not only for the usual, post-workout relaxation that has been common among gymgoers for long. According to Dr. Rhonda Perciavalle Patrick, Ph.D, increasing the body temperature can actually generate dramatic improvements in muscular growth and endurance. Dr. Patrick refers to this as ”Hyperthermic conditioning” which, judging from emerging research, seems to have a number of positive health effects.
When your body is subjected to heat, it gradually becomes acclimated to it, which prompts a number of beneficial changes in your body. Among these adaptive changes are increased plasma volume and blood flow to your heart and muscles. This leads to both an increase in athletic endurance and increased muscle mass, due to greater levels of heat-shock proteins and growth hormone.
So: if you spend time sweating it out in the gym trying to pump up those biceps, you might want to make sweating it ut in the sauna a part of your routine as well.