Sauna is good for the heart, science says | News

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A sauna post-exercise enhances the cardiovascular benefits of physical activity.

Jarkoya Saunassa

In Jyväskylä’s study, the sauna temperature did not exceed 80°C. The Finnish Sauna Association recommends heating the sauna between 80 and 100 degrees Celsius. Image: Yale

Post-exercise sauna visits may benefit cardiovascular system, according to doctoral dissertation (Sirit Toyshin Palverun) Graduated from Jyväskylä University.

doctor student Eric Lee showed that sauna bathing alone can elicit cardiovascular benefits, but that ingesting it after exercise has even greater benefits.

“Then, we found that a short period of aerobic exercise before a 15-minute sauna bath appeared to prolong its effects,” he said in a statement.

Lee’s study consisted of multiple sub-studies in middle-aged people with at least one cardiovascular disease risk factor.

In the first study, participants spent an initial 15 minutes sweating at 80 degrees Celsius, followed by a 30-minute sauna with short cooling breaks.

“Initial studies have already demonstrated that sauna bathing lowers indicators of blood pressure and vascular stiffness,” Lee explained.

However, another study showed that a short 15-minute exercise session before entering the sauna had sustained beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system.

“Exercise and sauna may have a synergistic effect, improving cardiovascular adaptations more than exercise alone,” he explained.

The study concluded that sauna access after regular exercise improved cardiopulmonary function and lowered systolic blood pressure and total cholesterol levels.

According to Lee, all healthy adults should combine exercise with a sauna, and those with lower fitness levels will see greater benefits. For people who are already in good shape, they may need to spend more time sweating in the sauna to achieve health benefits, Lee said.

Saunas are an important aspect of Finnish culture and are included in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list, which describes saunas as “sacred spaces” for Finns.

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