A sauna spell can increase your muscle mass, science shows
A post-workout sauna session could aid your muscle building goals, studies have shown
It was previously thought that a sauna session was a luxury that just feels like it's working. Now, these pros are backed up by solid science.
You've probably seen your favourite athlete or sports team take a dip in an ice bath after a game, or when returning from injury.
This has prompted many people to assume that cold water cryotherapy and ice is the best recovery method after a tough training session in the gym. New evidence shows that this isn't quite the case.
In fact, an ice bath could even be hindering your hard-earned gains. Somewhat surprisingly, a session in the sauna is a far better bet when it comes to beefing up.
Research conducted by the University of Eastern Finland studied the effects of a 30-minute sauna session on 100 people.
It was found that a sauna's heat can boost muscle growth. Exposure to a sauna's heat and humidity improves circulation, which in turn enhances the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to muscle cells.
The benefits don't end there, though. This trial also observed better vascular health, lowered blood pressure and a cardio response similar to actually hitting the gym.
This is all good news if you're trying to build those biceps up - but for all-round recovery, you don't just want to rely on a good sweat-out.
Here are three more optimal ways you can recover from intense training:
- Active rest: this may sound like an oxymoron, but light cardio such as hill-walking or swimming can aid recovery by flushing out lactic acid
- Sleep-time: a solid night's kip prompts the body to release natural testosterone and growth hormone
- Protein: everyone associates working out with a protein shake, and with good reason. Muscle tissue needs to be repaired with the amino acids from protein