Is It Better to Get in the Sauna Before or After a Workout?

When it comes to working out, there are a lot of different schools of thought on the best way to approach it.

Benefits of Sauna

Saunas are becoming increasingly popular as a tool for relaxation and improving health. With the relaxing heat and calming atmosphere, saunas provide a variety of physical and mental health benefits. From improved circulation to reduced stress and improved immunity, there are multiple benefits to sauna use. In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of saunas, looking at the effects of before or after a workout in particular.

Improved cardiovascular health

The sauna is known to be beneficial for cardiovascular health, with sustained use of the sauna associated with lower levels of LDL (‘bad’ cholesterol) and cardiovascular markers. Studies have also shown improved circulation with regular use of the sauna, due to increased blood flow throughout the body and to surface veins that carry hot blood closer to the skin. Additionally, regular sauna use has been linked with a decrease in both systolic and diastolic blood pressures, as well as reductions in arterial stiffness, which is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. This can be beneficial for those who are at risk of heart attack or stroke.

Improved metabolism

The heat from a sauna increases your body temperature, which in turn stimulates the metabolic process. In the same way that your metabolism is elevated when you exercise, it is also increased by sitting in a sauna for short periods of time. This enhanced metabolism allows your body to burn more calories even when you are resting. The heat of the sauna also speeds up your heart rate slightly, which is beneficial for cardiovascular health and can also help to reduce stress. As an added bonus, improved metabolism may even assist with weight loss and improve muscle recovery after a workout.

Reduced stress

One of the most beneficial aspects of sauna use is stress relief. Chronic stress can lead to a variety of health problems, including depression, anxiety, increased risk of heart disease and stroke, and even premature death. Thankfully, the comforting warmth of a sauna can do wonders for inducing relaxation and calming the mind.

Studies have shown that spending time in a sauna increases heart rate and produces changes in hormone levels similar to those produced by exercise. That’s why regular sauna sessions can provide many of the same physical and psychological benefits of a regular workout regimen, such as improved moods, increased focus, better sleep, stronger immunity, detoxification effects and much more. And because it’s done at lower temperatures than those used for exercise in gyms or other spaces, you don’t need to worry about sweating heavily or feeling overly dehydrated afterwards — two potential downsides associated with exercise.

Pre-Workout Sauna

Heading to the sauna before a workout may provide a number of benefits for your physical and mental health. Studies have shown that spending 15-20 minutes in a sauna prior to exercise can help your body warm up and become more flexible, allowing you to perform better. Additionally, the mental relaxation of a pre-workout sauna can help reduce anxiety and stress levels prior to exercising. Let’s dive into the potential advantages of a pre-workout sauna.

Warms up muscles

Heating up the muscles with a sauna or steam before exercise can help reduce the risk of injury. The heat relaxes and warms the muscles, allowing them to contract more forcefully and efficiently while being exercised. This extra flexibility may help to enhance performance, as well as reduce fatigue both during and after a workout session. It also helps to improve flexibility and range of motion, enabling one to lengthen their strides while running or cycling; both activities that are enhanced with increased range of motion. Warming up muscles in the sauna prior to exercise can help improve an overall workout experience.

Improves endurance

A sauna session before or after a workout offers various benefits to athletes of any level. One of the primary benefits is improved endurance. Studies have shown that taking a sauna after a workout can help to reduce muscle soreness and inflammation, lowering your recovery time significantly. Heat also dilates blood vessels, resulting in more oxygenated blood reaching your muscles. This increases their ability to endure stress and strain for longer periods, improving your overall performance. Research has also suggested that regular sauna use may even lead to improved strength training results through higher levels of muscle growth hormones.

Enhances performance

Studies suggest that pre-workout sauna sessions can help improve athletic performance and reduce the risk of injury. During sauna use, your core body temperature rises, which signals your brain to release norepinephrine and epinephrine – hormones that play a role in regulating metabolism, inflammation, immune system response and cognitive functions. As this occurs, exercise becomes easier by decreasing muscle breakdown while increasing endurance. Similarly, heat exposure may trigger increased blood flow to deep tissues, allowing for improved delivery of oxygen and nutrients throughout the body. This helps enhance muscle recovery on a cellular level and reduces the risk of swelling or strains that can sometimes occur during strenuous activity. In conclusion, incorporating a pre-workout sauna session into your routine provides beneficial enhancements in both short-term performance improvements as well as long-term injury prevention – enabling you to maximize your time spent at the gym or on the court!

Post-Workout Sauna

Taking a sauna after a workout is a great way to speed up your body’s recovery process. It allows your muscles to relax and helps soothe soreness. Additionally, the heat can raise your body temperature, which in turn can reduce inflammation and improve circulation. Saunas also help you release toxins and can even improve your body’s ability to heal itself. Let’s explore the benefits of a post-workout sauna in more detail.

Reduces muscle soreness

One benefit of a post-workout sauna session is its ability to reduce muscle soreness. Protein oxidation is the main cause of eccentric-induced muscle injury and by increasing your body temperature, sauna use can reduce protein oxidation, resulting in less muscle soreness. Studies have shown that people who used a sauna after exercise reported lower levels of pain and discomfort than those who didn’t use a sauna. Additionally, the increase in your body’s core temperature may further improve recovery by reducing inflammation and helping muscles heal more quickly.

Enhances recovery

A sauna session after a workout offers many benefits in terms of improving your recovery and overall health. After an intense workout session, physical fatigue can increase inflammation and enhance muscle soreness. With a sauna, its simple thermal therapy helps to decrease inflammation, reduce pain, and speed up recovery.

Saunas also help to flush out lactic acid from our muscles which further improves the body’s capability for efficient recovery. Sauna use has also been linked with several other physiological benefits such as reducing stress, raising core temperature (a mild fever response), increased sweating, and flushing toxins from your body by increasing blood flow to the sweat glands.The heat stress that comes with a sauna session helps activate the sympathetic nervous system which produces a calming effect on the body while leaving you energised at the same time. It can also aid in improving sleep quality after vigorous workout sessions.

In conclusion, taking some time out for a post-workout sauna session is beneficial in terms of enhancing overall health and aiding your body’s recovery process by reducing inflammation and alleviating muscle pain.

Improves flexibility

One of the key benefits of post-workout saunas is that they can help improve flexibility. Heat therapy has long been used to reduce muscle stiffness and to improve circulation, reducing pain and helping athletes recover more quickly. Research shows that when combined with a comprehensive stretching program, saunas are highly beneficial for flexibility and injury prevention. Heat applications may also promote healing of joint and muscle strains by providing analgesia and reducing inflammation. Sauna bathing increases blood circulation while heating deeper tissues than stretching alone, making it an ideal method to accelerate muscle recovery. When used in moderation, post-workout saunas can also greatly impact performance during exercise as it helps promote warm muscles prior to physical activity, reducing the risk of strain or injury due to increased flexibility

Safety Considerations

Visiting a sauna before or after a workout can be a great way to relax and recover, but there are some safety considerations to keep in mind. The heat of the sauna can cause dehydration, so it’s important to drink plenty of fluids before and after the session. You should also pay attention to your body’s response to the heat and take breaks when you need to. Let’s look at the specific safety considerations to keep in mind when visiting a sauna.

Avoid extreme temperatures

One of the most important safety considerations when it comes to saunas is avoiding extreme temperatures both inside the cabin and outside. As a general rule, you should never exceed a core body temperature of 104°F (40°C) so as to protect yourself from heat stroke and other serious medical issues that can result from prolonged exposure to extreme heat.

To reduce your risk of injury, avoid exercising in the sauna before or after your workout. If you choose to enter the sauna, ensure that you keep your core body temperature below 104°F (40°C) at all times. Consider bringing a thermometer or using an app on your phone that helps monitor how hot it is inside of the sauna – this way, you will know everything is safe and comfortable before proceeding with activity.

Additionally, if possible, try to move around in the sauna every few minutes as this will help keep your core body temperature at an even level throughout your session. Also take note of how long you have been sitting in the sauna – if need be, set a timer so that you don’t become overly uncomfortable or spend too much time in one area. Finally, make sure to always drink plenty of fluids and bring extra with you so as not to become dehydrated while enjoying your session!

Don’t stay in too long

The length of time that you stay in the sauna should be determined by your own level of comfort. Generally, sauna periods last between five and 30 minutes, though some people can handle longer sessions. If you experience dizziness, nausea or lightheadedness, exit the sauna right away and allow your body to cool down before resuming any activity. If these symptoms should occur when you are alone in a public place, it is important to immediately seek medical help.

In addition to physical safety concerns, it is also advisable to practice proper etiquette in a public sauna. Start by showering thoroughly before entering and then wear a swimsuit if one is provided. Some people may find certain areas ‘off limits’ so be sure to ask about any rules or restrictions prior to entering the steam room or traditional Finnish sauna. Be sure not to get overheated either; drink plenty of fluids and avoid activities such as vigorous exercise which can raise your body temperature too quickly.

Drink plenty of water

Drinking plenty of water before and after a sauna session is essential for rehydrating and flushing out any toxins released through sweat. Experts advise drinking about half a quart shortly before entering the sauna or steam room, as dehydration can lead to lightheadedness or dizziness, which could compromise your safety. Avoid alcohol both before and after your session as alcohol increases the risk of heat stroke. It is also important to stay hydrated while you are in the sauna by sipping on cool water. This will help maintain core body temperature, reduce the chance of arrhythmia or other serious illnesses, and even intensify the benefits of your sauna session.


Overall, both before and after workouts have their pros and cons when it comes to using the sauna. Before a workout, it can help you warm up and improve your focus, but the heat may cause you to overwork and dehydrate. After a workout, the heat can reduce stiffness and help with muscle recovery, but it can also lead to more fatigue in the long run. Therefore, it is important to consider all the factors before deciding which time is best for you.

Summary of benefits

Summarizing the potential benefits of sauna use before and after a workout, using the sauna before or after a workout can provide numerous health benefits. These benefits can include helping to reduce fatigue, relax muscles, and alleviate soreness, as well as helping to improve endurance performance, burn calories, remove toxins from the body, increase circulation and relaxation, enhance recovery and recuperation afterwards, reduce stress levels overall and potentially increase metabolism. Before starting your next fitness regimen or workout routine consider adding a sauna into your routine for added physical and mental health advantages.

Final thoughts on pre/post-workout sauna use

Whether you choose to enjoy the benefits of pre or post-workout sauna use, your decision should be based on what works best for your particular goals and needs. In general, most people should find that a session in the sauna before their workout helps to loosen up muscles and lower blood pressure, while a post-workout session will help speed up recovery, reduce inflammation and take advantage of the alleviation of soreness that many people experience after intense physical activity.

The key is to listen to your body and adjust your sauna regimen accordingly. If you start to feel too tired or lightheaded during or after a sauna session, consider gradually reducing your time in the heat until you find the perfect balance for you. Most experts recommend limiting yourself to no more than 20 minutes per session. And, never forget to hydrate yourself when entering a sauna!

Overall, using a sauna as part of an active lifestyle can offer numerous health benefits that include relaxation, better circulation and improved stamina. Keep in mind that if you are pregnant, have any chronic illnesses or are on certain medications — including blood thinners — it may be wise to check with your doctor prior to using a sauna.

Checkout this video:

Similar Posts