Sitting In A Sauna Can Be As Exhausting As A Workout, Reveals Study

Sitting In A Sauna Can Be As Exhausting As A Workout, Reveals Study

A research conded by sports scientist, Dr. Sascha Ketelhut reveals that saunsas does not help lose weight as there's simply no muscle activity involved.

Contrary to popular belief, saunas increase a person's heart rate instead of decreasing it reveals a study conducted by Dr. Sascha Ketelhut, a sports scientist at the Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg, Germany in collaboration with the Medical Center Berlin (MCB). The study has found that the exhaustion experience by one during a 25 minutes sauna session is equivalent to a workout set on a rowing machine. It actually creates the same amount of pressure on the heart but the increased heart rate falls once the session is over which does have "similar long-term positive effects to exercise." That being said, the research pointed out that it's not the most effective form of exhaustion as it does not help lose weight as there's simply no muscle activity involved.


This study which was recently published in the international journal Complementary Therapies in Medicine where Dr. Ketelhut, the lead author, talks about the popular assumption that saunas cause a drop in blood pressure in.  "It was thought that the heat dilates the blood vessels and that this lowers the blood pressure," said Dr. Ketelhut. There's a reason why people suffering from cardiovascular disorders or with low blood pressure are adviced not to use saunas. The dry heat often tends to lower the blood pressure which could easily lead to fainting. 


"However, it is important to distinguish between the acute effects of a sauna session and the effects that were noted during the rest period after the sauna session. Many previous assumptions have been made about the acute effects of sauna use, but so far little research has been done," added Dr. Ketelhut. To know more about this, the scientists conducted the first part of their experiment where they monitored the heart rates and blood pressure of 19 volunteers while letting them enjoy a 25-minute sauna session. To their surprise, both their blood pressure and heart rates showed a significant rise and continued to do so in the due course of the session.


Once the subjects left the room containing the dry heat, both measurements had dropped and stood at a level below they had before entering the sauna. For the second part, they let a couple of volunteers complete a short stint on a rowing machine while carefully measuring their heart rates and blood pressure. Announcing the results, Dr. Ketelhut said, "Comparing the two conditions, the participants' blood pressure and heart rate reached the same levels during the sauna session as they did with a load of about 100 watts during the exercise test."


Through this experiment, the specialists were able to conclude that saunas are indeed a burden on the body. The strain caused to the body is equivalent to that of an exercise routine. The sports scientist says that this method of exhaustion can be used by anyone who can deal with a moderate amount of physical stress without feeling uncomfortable. "Saunas can actually be used by anyone who can tolerate moderate physical stress without discomfort," he said. The research lead further claimed that people with low pressure could occasionally have a steam bath. Explaining further he said, "However, people with low blood pressure should be cautious afterward, as their blood pressure may then fall below the levels registered before the sauna visit."


The observations that the researchers mentioned are supported by other studies that have been conducted previously over the years. These studies conducted in the past mainly focused on the long-term effects of using a sauna. After a thorough study, it was found that it indeed had a positive effect on the cardiovascular system. Explaining this further Dr. Ketelhut said, "A sauna session is a physical strain. Its long-term positive effects are similar to sports activities." 


He finally concludes saying it would not help one lose weight due to the lack of muscle activity. In addition to that, he advises everyone to drink plenty of water to avoid any kind of dehydration after the sauna session. "The effect is too low as there is no muscle activity. Although we lose weight in the sauna, but these are just the fluids that we sweat out. One should rehydrate after a sauna session, though," Dr. Ketelhut said.


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