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  • Building Athletic Endurance Through Sauna Use

    This article is Part One of our four-part series on the extraordinary effects of hyperthermic conditioning--or heat acclimation--through sauna use on athletic performance and general health. If this series doesn't convince you that a sauna should be a regular part of your health regimen, nothing will! We believe this information is so important, that we are featuring the series on both our Saunas US and Saunas Canada sites.

    This series focuses on and breaks down the information provided by Dr. Rhonda Patrick in her YouTube video "Hyperthermic Conditioning for Hypertrophy, Endurance, and Neurogenesis". See the full video pasted below. Throughout the article, we will direct you to specific points in the video so you can jump straight there.


    Hyperthermic Conditioning / Heat Acclimation Through Sauna Use

    Heat acclimation--or hyperthermic conditioning--through regular sauna use can have profound effects on health and athletic performance. Specifically, in the following areas:

    1. increasing endurance capacity
    2. increasing muscle mass
    3. improving brain function, including neurogenesis (the creation of new brain cells)
    4. causing the effect known as "Runner's High"

    Refer to 1:08 in the video.

    The Effects of Heat Acclimation on Endurance (1:49)

    The following effects occur during hyperthermic conditioning:

    1. blood flow to muscles is increased, delivering nutrients and reducing dependence on glycogen stores during periods of activity, such as running
    2. blood flow to the heart is increased, reducing strain and heart rate, which allows activity to be maintained over a longer period of time
    3. blood flow to the skin increases, which aids in heat dissipation and helps keep the body's core temperature lower

    Endurance Gains Through Sauna Use (3:22)

    It was discovered that twelve 30-minute sauna sessions twice a week after an intense run led to a 32% increase in the distance run before exhaustion was reached, as well as a 7% increase in plasma volume and a 3.5% increase in red blood cell count, which aids in oxygenating muscles during exercise.

    Heat acclimation through regular sauna sessions can help athletes improve overall endurance, particularly for cardio-related activities.

    Be sure to check out the entire series on heat acclimation/hyperthermic conditioning:

    1. Building Athletic Endurance Through Sauna Use
    2. Increasing Muscle Mass Through Sauna Use
    3. Improving Brain Function Through Sauna Use
    4. The Runner's High Explained

  • Sauna Suits: Do They Work?

    sauna suits do they work copyright Kullez via Flickr

    Do you wish you could wear your sauna? Or maybe you don't have a sauna yet and you'd like to access some of the benefits of one in a way that lets you run errands at the same time. Is a sauna suit the answer? And do they really work, or do they just look space-tastic?

    Britney Spears was recently spotted sporting  a sauna suit while running around town, so there's been some renewed interest in these workout clothes. Let us lay down some knowledge on you about them:

    What is a Sauna Suit?

    A sauna suit looks like a spacey sweat suit. It's made of waterproof fabric such as PVC or coated nylon cloth. Typically, there's a pullover jacket and drawstring pants, and the waist, neck, wrists, and ankles are all elasticated to keep in heat and moisture.

    Why Do People Wear Sauna Suits?

    Sauna suits are often worn by professional or competitive athletes who have weigh-ins, such as boxers, MMA fighters, or wrestlers. These athletes often need to fall into specific weight classes, so they need to keep a strict control over their exact weight. Wearing the suits can help them shed a lot of weight very quickly.

    However, these suits are becoming increasingly popular outside professional athletics. Many people use them in their workout routines to lose weight fast.

    How Do Sauna Suits Work?

    Sauna suits prevent sweat from evaporating. This causes your body temperature to elevate and stay elevated, which leads to additional sweating. All that lost water leads to immediate weight loss. However, it is important to note that the lost weight is water, not fat, and it will be regained soon after you rehydrate.

    Are Sauna Suits Safe?

    While sauna suits certainly lead to weight loss, people who use them run some serious health risks. Because the body sheds so much water, it becomes dehydrated. Dehydration can cause dizziness, fainting, shortness of breath, and kidney damage--in extreme cases, it can even cause organ failure. Not allowing the body to cool naturally can also lead to heat stroke. In certain conditions, using sauna suits could even lead to death.

    Sauna suits should never be used while doing extreme exercise, in hot conditions, or in a sauna. Individuals with certain medical conditions should also refrain from using them.

    So Should I Use a Sauna Suit or Not?

    The short answer: no. You shouldn't run the health risks of a sauna suit for the short-term weight loss it provides.

    Losing weight and being healthy is not really about the numbers on your scale. A person who weighs 200 pounds but is healthy and has good muscle tone is going to look leaner and stronger than someone who weighs 200 pounds but is eating poorly and has excess body fat. Same weight, different appearance entirely. Losing water weight rapidly is not going to make you look better, feel stronger, or be healthier. It's simply going to dehydrate you, and you will gain it all back quickly.

    A much better option is to focus on a healthy diet and an exercise routine that includes cardio and building muscle. Supplement such a lifestyle with weekly or bi-weekly sauna use in an actual sauna to flush toxins out of your system. Drink plenty of water. The results can be very quick with a regular routine, you won't gain it all back, and you'll be healthier.


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