There are many more benefits to an infrared sauna than just detoxification. While the mental and cardiovascular benefits of sauna use are outstanding, its health benefits extend to those who seek optimal athletic performance as well.
Infrared Sauna and Hyperthermic Conditioning
One of the key benefits of an infrared sauna is its ability to heat the body directly at a lower temperature. As the body’s core temperature increases, it triggers processes such as detoxification, improved blood circulation, and stress reduction. Athletes refer to this as hyperthermic conditioning.
Hyperthermic conditioning occurs when the body's temperature is increased over a short period of time. This type of conditioning is known to improve overall athletic performance.
This benefit, though not limited to athletes, is important to your comprehensive health. While cardio exercises are the most common way to build your endurance, a session in an infrared sauna may also aid in enhancing those results. As the temperature rises inside the sauna, your body acclimatizes to the heat, prompting increased blood flow by accelerating your heart rate. With regular infrared sessions, your body becomes more efficient at regulating temperature, enabling better performance.
As previously mentioned, infrared saunas subject your body to heat stress. In response, your body releases heat shock proteins. Heat shock proteins help in degrading free radicals and repairing damaged cells in the body. The more available proteins there are in the body, the greater the chances for muscle repair and growth.
Muscle soreness is a common occurrence for athletes, or for anyone who workouts. Any type of intensive workout can lead to muscle tension, soreness and inflammation. Infrared saunas help with easing the side effects that come with working out, particularly with reducing the effects of delayed onset muscle soreness. Blood flow is also increased, allowing the muscles to receive oxygen – which is vital to muscle recovery.
This is by far the most common and scientifically proven benefit of infrared sauna usage. For athletes, strenuous competition increases the levels of adrenaline – the body’s fight-or-flight hormone. Large volumes of adrenaline in the brain have been known to induce negative stress, which can go as far as initiating a heart attack. Considering that athletes experience natural doses of adrenaline during physical activity, they can benefit greatly from infrared sauna sessions; helping them to relax after a stressful workout/competitive event.
While an extensive workout and nutritional regimen are key for optimal athletic performance, it's also worth incorporating daily infrared sauna sessions into your routine. The relaxing and therapeutic atmosphere of a sauna is the yin to the strenuous lifestyle yang athletes face daily.