Long and strenuous workout sessions can have you feel a high degree of discomfort, muscles in your entire body feeling sore. Intense workouts can lead to muscle pulling and other types of minor injuries that throw your efforts of getting into shape back, canceling your work for a period as you’re not able to exercise until you fully recover. This is where the heat comes in, acting as a healer and a workout performance booster as it reduces recuperation times and relaxes your body, making you more inclined to work out for hours on end. But the question arises, what is the better type of heat session to appeal to – steam room or sauna? Find out the answer in the following lines.
What Are Saunas?
A sauna is a room heated to 158°F to 212°F, the atmosphere inside it delivering an intense sense of relaxation and pain relief. There are quite a few types of saunas that you can tend, and we’ll try to keep their description short to not bore you. Infrared saunas are the latest trend, focusing on heating the objects inside the room, more precisely your body, rather than wasting time on heating the air. The direct heat enjoyed when using an infrared sauna is highly efficient in terms of making you sweat, and it benefits you greatly when it comes to muscle recovery after strenuous workouts.
Electrically heated saunas have low humidity and high temperatures, and they provide the warmth due to an electrical heater that is usually attached to the floor. Another type of sauna that you can tend is the wood-burning sauna. Just like the name implies, wood is used to heat the room, along with sauna rocks. Just like electrically heated models, humidity levels are low inside, while temperatures get high quite fast.
Sauna – Impact on Your Workout
All respectable workout joint have saunas, so there has to be a good reasoning for this occurrence, right? After a grueling workout, your muscles usually feel sore and you’re left incapable of moving, especially if you’re a beginner. Hitting the sauna once you finish the workout session helps relieve the pain by relaxing your muscles, making tears less likely and getting you back on your feet until the next day so that you will be capable to exercise once again. Not only to saunas reduce muscle pain, but they eliminate the sensation of post-workout fatigue by relaxing your entire body. Also, saunas help effectively flush out toxins that reside in your body, thus making you feel more energetic and giving you the needed hype to continue the workout regimen you have planned.
What Are Steam Rooms?
Steam rooms are types of saunas that instead of using dry air and heat, use high humidity and moist heat. Although they are highly effective in their mission to make people sweat, the environment created in a steam room isn’t as tolerable as it is in an infrared sauna, for example. The high levels of humidity make it unbearable for some to sit inside as breathing becomes a lot harder. Also, there are people who have medical issues that don’t allow them to sit in such a humid environment, a fact that limits the usability and popularity of steam rooms.
Steam Room – Impact on Your Workout
Just like the sauna, the steam room enhances your workout performance as it relaxes your body, relieving pain and preventing injury from occurring. The moist heat and the humid environment that you enter into contact with help hydrate your skin and relax your muscles. This way, any discomfort that you might have felt and that ultimately presented a threat to future workout sessions disappears completely. While tending the relaxing steam bath, the moist heat causes your blood vessels to enlarge. The direct result of this benefit is an improved overall blood circulation that benefits your workout performance as more nutrients are delivered to cells, the damaged tissue that resulted from working out being properly repaired faster.
Sauna vs Steam for Workout Performance Enhancement
Now we reach the conclusion of this article, so we must establish what is the better option to go with for enhancing your workout performance – the sauna or the steam room? As you have probably already realized, both environments deliver excellent results from this point of view. Tending the sauna as well as the steam room helps relax muscles, provides quicker injury recovery as blood flow is improved, and toxins are eliminated, your energy levels and predisposition to exercise rising.
Nonetheless, the main difference between the sauna and steam room is what determines us to recommend saunas for pre- or post-workout relaxation and recovery session. This difference, of course, stands in the environment created in the room. As aforementioned, steam rooms deliver moist humidity that not all people tolerate, some even being forbidden by their health issues to sit in the humid and moist environments. On the other hand, saunas are a lot more pleasant to sit in as humidity levels don’t rise, your body being the main point of focus for the heat, not the air. This makes saunas more comfortable to tend and safe for all people, regardless of their medical situation.