5 Thing To Know Before Using The Sauna

After watching the episode of Friends where Chandler accidently sits on the lap of his fiance’s father in the sauna, completely naked, I got to thinking… Are steam rooms and saunas really as great as they seem? Sure, there are health benefits to the experience, but are they worth it? With one Google search, you would think that saunas are like the gateways to heaven. Steam rooms are considered “wet” saunas and dry saunas are made warm by coals. While there are even more types of saunas including infrared, wood burning, and electric, I decided to just stick to the dry sauna. Should you make it apart of your daily workout routine? Is it as life changing as some claim? Well, here are some things that you need to know before stripping down.

    1. The sauna is hot. This may seem obvious, but I was not expecting the benches to be scorching hot when I sat down. I ended up with marks on the back of my legs from where my skin and the bench met. I eventually learned to always put a towel down before sitting. I always end up sitting in my sports bra because I can’t stand the feeling of anything touching my back when I’m hot. Don’t go in there with leggings on or anything that feels too thick. The first few minutes, I always feel like I am suffocating. This is completely normal, so don’t let it turn you away.

    2. If you are not well hydrated before going into the sauna, and if you don’t drink while in there, you WILL get lightheaded. Since each sauna sesh I completed was at the end of my workout, I was already sweating a great deal before I even went inside. I suggest keeping your water outside of the sauna to prevent it from heating up, and walking out every 7-8 minutes to rehydrate and towel yourself down.

 

    3. Your skin will start… doing a thing. We all know that sweating profusely can clog your pores. After day 3 of the sauna, I noticed that all my imperfections were starting to surface. My skin felt a little dry, and looked a tad dull. I developed some forehead acne, which is pretty abnormal for me. My cheeks also seemed a bit bumpy. After about a week passed, it seems like my skin has evened out and it has a little glow. Be prepared for this adjustment period. Your skin isn’t used to being in this type of environment.

   4. You need to have a plan before you walk in. The first time I went in, I was lost. I wasn’t sure how long I should stay, and I based my time off of how long everyone else was in there. Baddddd choice! Just because that 350-pound football player next to you has been in the sauna for what seems like forever, doesn’t mean you should do that too. I would suggest staying in about ten minutes the first time, and gradually increasing the duration each time. Set a timer and only stay in for that long. If you stay in too long at first, your body will go into shock and you’ll feel really lethargic. Figure out what you want to do while in there. Are you going to scroll through Instagram and Twitter or listen to music on your phone? *Remember your phone will overheat after a few minutes* Are you going to read or talk to a friend? Have a plan so that you don’t feel like you’re dying a slow and miserable death.

 

 

    5. Realize that people go into the sauna for different reasons. There will be men, women, athletes, and elderly people alike in the room. Some use it for weight loss, some for relaxation, some for the social aspect, and some for the health benefits. You have to understand that not everyone wants to have a full conversation while they’re dripping sweat. Respect people’s boundaries and stay in your own space. Don’t go in there expecting it to be like Friends. If you haven’t realized it yet, Friends is never like real life.

 

What are the health benefits I keep talking about? Saunas have been proven to help alleviate sore joints, open your airways, reduce stress levels, lower cholesterol levels, and build cardiovascular endurance. Have I incorporated it into my workout routine? I sure have! I feel a few pounds lighter when I leave and I find it really relaxing. With these tips in mind, go embrace your inner Chandler in the sauna!