Should You Go in the Sauna Before or After a Workout?

Deciding whether to hit the sauna before or after a workout is a personal decision.
Weigh the pros and cons of each option to see what might work best for you.

Benefits of Sauna

Saunas can be a great way to relax and unwind after a hard day or an intense workout. They can also be great for your health. Studies have shown that regular use of a sauna can help to reduce stress, improve circulation, and even boost your immune system. In this article, we will discuss the main benefits of sauna use.


Detoxification is one of the primary benefits of using a sauna. Spending time in the sauna causes a significant increase in perspiration, which helps to rid your body of toxins that have built up from everyday exposure to pollutants and unhealthy food or drink. Sweating is an important part of detoxifying your body and regular use of the sauna can help you do this more efficiently. Additionally, increased circulation and improved metabolic efficiency can also aid in this process. The heat also helps loosen tight muscles, as well as reduce joint pain and inflammation.

Improved Circulation

Sauna use has long been associated with improved circulation. The mild heat of the sauna improves the blood flow in your skin, muscles and extremities, which helps to deliver fresh oxygen and vital nutrients throughout your body. This enhanced circulation also helps to reduce inflammation and encourages cell regeneration, leading to healthier skin, stronger muscles and improved physical fitness levels. And because a sauna session increases your heart rate just like exercising does, time spent in the sauna can be considered as an equivalent of cardio exercise — made easy! In addition to better circulation, sauna use has also been linked to improved cardiovascular health through reduced blood pressure and cholesterol levels as well as a decrease in stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline.

Improved Cardiovascular Health

One of the most notable benefits of sauna use is improved cardiovascular health. Studies have shown that regular sauna use can help to lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation and improve overall cardiovascular health. Regular sauna-goers experience relaxed blood vessels as well as enhanced circulation, stimulating the production of endorphins, which are natural feel-good hormones. The improved circulation helps to promote healthy functioning of all cells throughout the body, including muscle cells, which is beneficial for physical activity. Furthermore, researchers have found that regular sauna use helps to reduce risk factors for heart disease, like high cholesterol levels and weight gain.

Pre-Workout Considerations

Before you jump into the sauna, it’s important to consider a few pre-workout considerations. The sauna can provide numerous physical and mental benefits, such as improved circulation and relaxation. However, if not done correctly, the sauna can disrupt your workout. In order to get the most out of your sauna experience, it’s best to familiarize yourself with the proper dos and don’ts for using the sauna before or after a workout.

Warm Up

Before a workout, it’s important to warm up your body to prevent injuries and reduce muscle fatigue. Warming up can include lightly jogging or walking, dynamic stretching activities such as leg swings and arm circles, and aerobic exercises like jogging in place, jumping jacks, or burpees. Engaging in light cardio can warm your muscles up and make them more flexible when doing the actual workout. Additionally, a sauna session before a workout can also help warm up your muscles. Sitting in a sauna for five to 10 minutes offers an effective form of pre-workout warm-up due to the stimulation of blood circulation from heat exposure. Heat has also been proven to increase muscle elasticity and range of motion which helps reduce the risk of injury during exercise. Incorporating the sauna into a pre-workout routine can lead to improved performance and post-exercise recovery.

Increase Core Temperature

Increasing your core temperature prior to exercise can increase the intensity at which you can train. One way to do this is by going in a sauna before or after a workout. While it can have some benefits, there are things you should consider before making this part of your regular routine. Here are some tips to ensure that you get the most out of your pre-workout sauna session without compromising your performance or health.

When using the sauna prior to physical activity, keep the duration and exposure time as short as possible for maximum effectiveness. The general rule is to stay in for no more than 10 minutes, but no less than five, and only increase the exposure time if you experience increased core temperature levels within that window of time.

For those with pre-existing cardiovascular conditions, seek medical advice from a trainer or physician before taking part in any steam room exercises or physical activities that involve intense heat exposure. Regular monitoring of heart rate is necessary in order to stay safe and healthy during any sauna session regardless of pre-existing condition status.

Saunas can also be used afterwards – following an intensive workout session – as a way to aid relaxation, reduce muscle soreness, and speed up post-exercise recovery through increased blood circulation resulting from elevated body temperatures. Much like using the sauna prior to physical activity, it’s important to ensure sufficient hydration levels by drinking plenty of water during and after your session. It may also be beneficial to limit your exposure time once post-workout is complete as temperatures too high over periods longer than fifteen minutes may cause dehydration leading to further health risks such as dizziness or fainting spells.

Improve Performance

A sauna session has several short-term benefits that can improve athletic performance. Exposure to high temperatures improves blood circulation, which can help to quickly warm up muscles and prepare them for exercise. In addition, increased circulation may increase muscle strength and capacity, allowing you to lift more weight or complete more reps. Furthermore, research shows that heat stress can make anaerobic exercise feel easier while not compromising your power output, allowing you to work harder and perform better in short bursts of activity. Many athletes use saunas pre-workout as a way to increase their performance by warming up the body before physical activity.

Post-Workout Considerations

The decision to go in the sauna before or after a workout can have a great impact on your physical and mental fitness. Going into the sauna before your workout can help warm up your muscles and get you in the zone for an intense workout. On the other hand, going in the sauna after a workout can help you recover faster and reduce soreness. Let’s discuss these considerations in more detail.

Muscle Recovery

When it comes to muscle recovery after a workout, there are several factors to consider. Studies have shown that regular sauna use can help improve performance and assist in post-workout recovery. However, the timing of the sauna session is important — should you go in the sauna before or after a workout?

Before a Workout: Heating up your muscles prior to exercise can increase your blood flow and make it easier to stretch and warm up. This can help prevent injury and improve performance during exercise. Using a sauna before exercising also helps prime your body for heat, making it less intense if you sweat during your workout.

After a Workout: Sauna sessions after exercise may be beneficial for faster muscle recovery due to their ability to reduce inflammation and swelling caused by intense physical activity. Additionally, studies have shown that regular post-workout sauna use may lead to improved cardiovascular health by helping reduce blood pressure levels and by improving glucose tolerance in Type 2 diabetes patients. Moreover, using a sauna after an intense workout session has been found to reduce DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness).

Reduce Soreness

An effective recovery strategy is key to ensuring that you perform your best each time you exercise. Incorporating things like stretching, foam rolling and massage into your post-workout routine can help reduce soreness and improve muscle performance. However, one method of recovery often overlooked is the sauna. Saunas are a great way to relax tense muscles, decrease swelling and stiffness as well as reduce soreness after a workout.

Sauna use may also help in improving joint mobility and promoting healthy blood circulation throughout the body. In addition, the heat generated by saunas can increase endorphin levels which helps improve your overall sense of wellbeing following a workout.

While saunas offer numerous benefits, it’s important to ensure that you time their use properly in order maximize their effects on soreness reduction. Saunas should generally be used either before or after but not during exertion for safety reasons such as heat exhaustion or dehydration risks. Additionally, it’s important to make sure that you are properly hydrated before getting into an intense cardio session or hitting some heavy weights — no matter when you take a trip to the sauna!

Improve Flexibility

Post-workout flexibility improvements can help you move better and avoid injuries. After a hard workout, the combination of increased blood flow to your muscles and decreased mechanical tension can help improve your mobility. A warm up in the sauna before or after your workout is an effective way to further improve your post-workout flexibility. The heat will reduce muscle tension, allowing for greater range of motion and deeper stretches. Afterward, you may be able to move better during workouts and daily activities, setting a base for achieving your fitness goals.


Sauna use can have numerous benefits, from soothing sore muscles to helping you relax, but it’s important to take safety precautions when you’re using one. Whether you’re deciding to go in the sauna before or after a workout, understanding the safety guidelines for sauna use is essential for a safe and healthy experience. Let’s look into the safety protocols that you should keep in mind when deciding to go in the sauna.

Listen to your Body

It is important to recognize individual body responses to sauna use and listen to your own needs. While the general guideline is that it’s best to wait at least an hour after exercising before entering a hot sauna, this isn’t always the case. Every body is different and may have its own preference for timing when it comes to exertion and restoration.

Some fitness enthusiasts believe that you should sauna immediately after your workout because doing so can help your body rid itself of toxins more quickly post-exertion. Others believe that waiting for 30-60 minutes will do the trick just as effectively — and give your body time to recover from exercise before introducing more heat into the equation.

The key is paying attention to your body’s response while trying both approaches and figuring out which approach works best for you. A few common-sense safety tips apply regardless of timing: go slow, drink plenty of water, use caution if using heat combined with alcohol consumption (the two do not mix!), and take regular breaks as needed. Ultimately, it’s up to you or your coach (if you are taking part in a program) to determine which method makes sense in order for you get the most out of both exercise and sauna use safely.

Monitor your Temperature

Monitoring your body temperature is crucial to help prevent overheating. Before entering a sauna, make sure you are not overly warm or sweaty from exercise. If you feel too hot, seek medical attention immediately. Make sure you stay hydrated throughout your sauna session, as dehydration can increase your risk of heat-related illnesses such as heat stroke and dehydration. Drinking sport drinks with electrolytes (not energy drinks) can help replace lost minerals and reduce the risk of heat exhaustion while in the sauna. Listen to your body and take regular breaks so that your body temperature can cool down gradually. Monitor your breathing; if it feels labored or if you have difficulty catching your breath, this is a sign that you may be over-heating. Lastly, ensure there is enough air circulating in the sauna room and don’t use any artificial heating sources such as electric heaters to boost the temperature higher than recommended levels.

Drink Plenty of Water

No matter whether you decide to relax in the sauna before or after your workout, staying hydrated is essential for your safety. Sweating in the sauna causes loss of fluids, electrolytes and heat from your body. Drinking plenty of water before, during and after you spend time in the sauna helps replenish fluids and electrolytes lost due to sweating. Aim to drink at least 8 oz. of water every 20 minutes while in a sauna, as we sweat out more than just water and there is an increased risk of dehydration due to the dry air environment within the sauna. It’s also important to abstain from alcohol prior to entering a sauna as it can further increase dehydration levels quicker than normal. It’s recommended not only by experts but also research that drinking an adequate amount of fluids helps regulate internal temperature when exposed to a hot environment like a sauna cabin, reducing the risk of adverse reactions such as heatstroke or light headiness.


After considering the many pros and cons of using a sauna before or after a workout, it is ultimately up to the individual to decide what works best for them. Each person’s goals and lifestyle will determine which approach is better for them. However, by understanding the potential risks, benefits, and best practices for sauna use, you can make an informed decision about when it is best for you to use a sauna.

The Benefits of Sauna

Sweating in the sauna has a number of health benefits, whether you choose to have your session before or after exercise. Saunas increase circulation and heart rate, which helps to relax muscles due to the increased temperature, allowing for a deeper stretch and greater range of motion. Along with triggering an endorphin rush, saunas may also reduce inflammation within the body, aid in weight loss, help improve cardiovascular performance by exposing your body to intense heat for a certain amount of time then followed by exposure to cold — helping your body develop its capacity to handle extreme temperatures.

Studies have also shown that spending time in a sauna can improve endurance and may even be associated with lowering blood pressure levels. Additionally, it has been said that regular sessions in saunas can reduce stress levels. In addition to these potential benefits, exposure to excessive heat can be cleansing since toxins are released via sweat when our bodies internalize temperature changes more quickly than when we simply become hot from physical activity.

Pre and Post-Workout Considerations

Before jumping into a sauna session, it is important to consider the effects that your body is currently experiencing. For example, if you are sore from the day before, or just finished a particularly intense workout session, the heat of the sauna will be especially uncomfortable and can prevent your muscles from properly recovering. Additionally, if dehydrated from a recent workout or from sweating during physical activity in general, it’s best to first drink plenty of water before entering the sauna otherwise dehydration and/or nausea may occur.

Once you’ve evaluated whether or not it is safe for you to enter and relax in the sauna based on how your body feels, there are two main schools of thought on when to go in: After exercise vs Before exercise. Advocates of each opinion have weighed in on why they believe their approach works best:

Entering right after exercise can help muscles relax faster by enhancing blood circulation throughout your body while rapidly expelling lactic acid and other harmful toxins; leading some experts to believe that this can speed up recovery time! Meanwhile some believe promoting muscle relaxation before working out can lead to better endurance performance since those who conserve their energy prior to working out will benefit from the lingering effects afterwards.

Ultimately finding what works best for you boils down to experimenting with timing- and monitoring how you feel during workouts as well as how quickly your body recovers after leaving the sauna.

Safety Tips

When you visit a sauna, safety should be your top priority. In order to make the experience as safe and enjoyable as possible, there are a few tips you should follow.

First off, it’s important to stay hydrated when using a sauna. You should drink plenty of water before, during and after your session. This will help keep your body temperature regulated and reduce the risk of potentially dangerous overheating or dehydration. It is also advised that you avoid alcohol before or during sauna use since it can increase dehydration and the risk of overheating due to the combined effects of heat from the sauna and alcohol consumption inactivity.

In addition to drinking plenty of water, you may wish to wear light clothing such as shorts or yourself with towels for comfort. You’ll also want to avoid staying in one position in the sauna for too long and limit your time inside based on personal tolerance levels for temperature and humidity levels within the facility. Lastly, use caution when entering and exiting a steam room; wait until all steaming has stopped before you enter or exit so as not prevent injuries from burns or slips due to excess moisture.

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