How Long to Sit in a Sauna after a Workout Explained

Sit Sauna After Workout

Indulging in a sauna session after your workout feels satisfying because it helps your muscles relax and eases any stiffness. The cozy warmth of the sauna not only soothes your tired muscles but also provides a serene environment, leaving you with a profound feeling of physical and mental rejuvenation.


But have you ever wondered how long you should chill in the sauna after hitting the gym? While the allure of having a lengthy sauna session after a workout is understandable, it's important to stay mindful of the duration for a safer and more effective experience.


Read on to find out how long to sit in a sauna after a workout and discover the many benefits of practicing this post-workout regimen.

How Long to Sit in Sauna After Workout

Finding the optimal duration for using a sauna after a workout is key to reaping maximum health benefits. Ideally, you should aim to spend about 15–20 minutes in the sauna after your workout session. Doing this helps your body cool down and recover properly after physical exertion. It also allows your body to absorb the therapeutic heat without risking dehydration or discomfort.


Keep in mind that individual preferences and needs vary, so there isn't a universal post-workout sauna duration. But there are several factors that can assist you in figuring out the right timeframe for you.

Factors Affecting Post-Workout Sauna Session Duration


Personal Tolerance: Your ability to tolerate heat is an important consideration for a safe and successful post-workout sauna session. If you're new to sauna experiences, start with shorter durations, gradually extending as your body adapts. Pay close attention to your body's responses, allowing for adjustments based on comfort levels.


Fitness level: Your current fitness level significantly influences how your body responds to the sauna's heat. Individuals with higher fitness levels often find they can comfortably handle longer sauna sessions. However, it's crucial for individuals of all fitness levels to listen to their bodies and avoid extended exposures if discomfort arises.


Age: Age plays a role in how your body regulates temperature, impacting your sauna tolerance. Younger individuals might generally handle heat better, allowing for longer sessions, while older individuals may need to be more cautious, opting for shorter durations and limiting sauna sessions to avoid strain.


Body composition: Factors like muscle mass and body fat percentage contribute to how quickly your body heats up and cools down during a sauna session. Those with higher muscle mass may experience a quicker rise in body temperature, necessitating shorter sessions for an effective post-workout routine.


Intensity of Workout: After a vigorous exercise session, a slightly longer sauna time may be beneficial for muscle recovery and relaxation. However, it's crucial to avoid overexertion, especially if you're fatigued from the workout. Listen to your body, and adjust the sauna duration based on your energy levels.


Health Conditions: Individuals with certain health conditions should seek advice from a healthcare professional before using a sauna post-workout. Conditions like cardiovascular issues may require shorter sauna durations to ensure safety and well-being. Always prioritize your health when determining the duration of your post-exercise sauna session.

Signs It's Time to Exit the Sauna

Paying attention to signals from your body while using a sauna is essential for ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience. Here are body cues you must look out for when using a sauna after workout:


Feeling Dizzy or Lightheaded: The hot temperatures can increase blood flow to the skin, leading to dehydration and a potential case of low blood pressure. This drop may result in feelings of dizziness, fainting, and an increased risk of falls. To readjust, take a break outside, drink water, and ensure proper ventilation before considering reentry.


Excessive Sweating: Excessive sweating beyond your usual level may cause dehydration. If excessive sweating persists, consider shortening your time in the sauna and seeking a cooler environment to rehydrate and cool down.


Discomfort or Overheating: If you start feeling uncomfortable or overly hot, it's time to step out and cool down. Find a comfortable space outside the sauna, take slow deep breaths, and hydrate.


Now that we've covered the signs to watch for, let's shift our focus to the positive impacts of sauna use after working out.

The Health Benefits of Post-Workout Sauna Sessions

Sauna bathing after your workout is a real wellness game-changer. Let's dive into the incredible health benefits waiting for you in post-exercise sauna sessions. It's time to add a touch of warmth to your post-workout routine!

Muscle Recovery

It’s absolutely normal to experience sore muscles after working out. When you exercise, your muscles experience microscopic tears, leading to inflammation and sensations like soreness, cramps, tightness, and sensitivity.


Here's where the sauna steps in to aid your muscle recovery after working out. The heat amps up blood circulation, sending oxygen-rich blood to those oxygen-depleted muscles. This not only kick-starts the muscle recovery process but also lets your muscles chill out, relieving muscle soreness and tension to make you feel more relaxed and rejuvenated.

Overall Tension Relief

The strain on various muscle groups can leave you tired and uncomfortable. And sauna bathing will be your go-to solution for unwinding those tense muscles. Backed by numerous studies, heat therapy has long been hailed to alleviate muscle soreness. Heat prompts your body to release tension and enhances blood circulation, delivering more oxygen to your brain, organs, and muscles. This not only triggers the release of feel-good endorphins and promotes healthy blood pressure but also makes a sauna session one of the absolute best ways to treat yourself after a workout.

Sweat Detoxification

 

Using a sauna isn't just about relaxation—it's a great opportunity for sweat detoxification. Preliminary studies suggest that different sweating methods, like those experienced in a sauna, may affect the excretion of heavy metals during detoxification. Sweating during your workout helps release toxins, and extending this process in the sauna enhances the removal of harmful elements like toxic metals, alcohol, and nicotine. This detoxification will leave you feeling healthier, more relaxed, and happier post-workout.

Improved Cardiovascular Health

The benefits of post-exercise sauna bathing extend beyond visible results like toned muscles and reduced body fat; it's a boon for your cardiovascular health. Sauna time aids your nervous system, improving its control, reducing artery stiffness, and lowering systemic blood pressure. Studies have shown that heat stress from sauna use contributes to a better heart health. This results in reduced risk of stroke, high blood pressure, heart disease, neurocognitive diseases, and overall mortality.

Stress Relief

If you've been engaging in frequent sauna bathing, you're familiar with the soothing sensation that washes over you as you settle in. The sauna's heat releases not just physical tension but also provides a boost to your mental health.


For centuries, people have turned to the traditional sauna for a mind-cleansing and calming experience, reporting feelings of relaxation, peace, and even meditativeness. Heat prompts your muscles to loosen and relax, alleviating both physical and mental strain. So combining exercise with a sauna session emerges as one of the most effective stress-busting and mental health boosting rituals worldwide.

What You Need to Know Before Using a Sauna After a Workout

Whether you’re using a traditional sauna or an infrared sauna after a workout, understanding key considerations enhances the effectiveness and safety of your experience. Let’s explore the sauna basics and precautions you must-follow when sauna bathing after working out.

Sauna Session Basics

Stay Hydrated

Drink plenty of water before and after your sauna session to prevent dehydration. Saunas induce sweating, leading to fluid loss, so it's important to stay hydrated is crucial, especially after a tough workout.

Start Slow

If you're new to saunas, initiate with shorter sessions and gradually extend the duration. This gradual approach helps your body adjust and ensures a more comfortable and enjoyable sauna experience.

Consider the Sauna Type

Whether traditional or infrared sauna, you must understand the type you're using. Infrared saunas penetrate the skin more deeply, offering a different experience than traditional saunas that offer dry heat.

Attire Matters

Wear lightweight and loose-fitting clothing to allow your body to cool down efficiently. Many people opt for a towel or robe to sit on, not only for comfort but also to maintain a hygienic and respectful environment for fellow sauna users.

Listen to Your Body

Pay attention to how your body responds. If you feel dizzy or uncomfortable, exit the sauna immediately and cool down because it might indicate low blood pressure

Sauna Precautions

Health Check

If you have underlying health conditions, especially cardiovascular issues, consult with a healthcare professional before using the sauna. Pregnant women and individuals with certain medical conditions should also seek advice.

Alcohol and Sauna Don't Mix

Avoid consuming alcohol before or during a sauna session. Alcohol can amplify the effects of heat, leading to dehydration and increased risk of accidents. It can also decrease blood pressure, so opting for water or hydrating beverages ensures a safer and more effective sauna experience.

Limit Sauna Frequency

While saunas offer numerous benefits, moderation is key. Don't overuse saunas, as excessive heat exposure may lead to adverse effects. Allow your body adequate time to recover between sessions to maximize the long-term benefits and minimize any potential risks.

Cool Down Gradually

After your sauna use, cool down gradually. Avoid sudden exposure to cold water or air, as it can stress your cardiovascular system. Consider engaging in light stretching or a slow walk to ease the transition and enhance the overall post-sauna relaxation experience.

Sauna Etiquette

Ensure a pleasant sauna experience for all by showering before entry to eliminate workout-related odors. Keep the sauna quiet and serene by refraining from conversations or using electronic devices. Embrace mindfulness by using a towel for hygiene, practicing silence, and avoiding disruptive activities.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it good to go to a sauna after a workout?

Absolutely, going to a sauna after a workout can be beneficial for your overall health. Research suggests that regular sauna bathing is associated with lower levels of serum C-reactive protein, a key blood marker for systemic inflammation. There is a significant inverse association between the frequency of sauna bathing and the level of C-reactive protein, indicating that a sauna regimen may contribute to the reduced risk of inflammation in the body.

Does a sauna burn fat?

Saunas may contribute to short-term weight loss through the reduction of water weight. The heat in a sauna can elevate the heart rate, which might help burn some calories. However, it's important to know that the best way to burn fat is engaging in cardio workouts like hiking, swimming, running, or walking. Relying on the passive heat exposure in a sauna room won't give you the same fat-burning benefits as getting active with these kinds of workouts.

Is it better to go in the sauna or steam room after workout?

Both the sauna and steam room offer relief for muscle aches and tension, as well as benefits for the skin. However, when it comes to overall health benefits, saunas have a slight edge. Extensive research supports saunas for their positive impact on cardiorespiratory health, immunity, cognitive function, and overall longevity.

Do you shower after a sauna?

Yes, it's advisable to shower after a sauna, but timing is key for a healthier recovery. Cooling off properly is crucial to avoid potential issues like catching a cold from excessive sweating. Instead of immediately taking a shower after the sauna, it's better for your body to leave enough time to cool down in the fresh air first. This gradual cooldown helps your body readjust before warming up again.

Ready to use a sauna after workout sessions?

Sauna use after workout sessions offers a myriad of health benefits, from aiding muscle recovery to promoting heart health and stress relief. Just remember the importance of knowing how long you should stay in a sauna post-workout.


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