Saunas are not only good for helping you to relax. They could also help you live longer.
Researchers in Finland studied the effect of saunas on more than 2,300 men over a 20-year period. They found that men who used saunas four to seven times per week lived longer than men who only used saunas once a week.
The findings, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, also found that frequent sauna users had:
A 63% lower risk of sudden cardiac death
A 50% lower risk of cardiovascular disease
A 40% overall lower death rate
These remarkable numbers have to do with the fact that sitting in a sauna may have the same effect on the body as aerobic exercise.
You see, performing aerobic exercise raises your body’s core temperature. This induces strain on the body, decreases endurance and accelerates exhaustion.
By itself, you don’t want your body’s temperature to be higher than normal for an extended period of time like when you have a fever.
But during exercise, when your body’s core temperature is raised, the body goes through a natural process called hyperthermic conditioning, or heat adaptation.
Basically, the body is in an abnormal state and will make any changes necessary to survive at this new temperature.
This process optimizes your body for next time you exercise (and raise your body temperature), so the body is put through less metabolic stress.
The more exercise you perform means the better heat-adapted you are.
As the body adapts to functioning at a higher temperature, it makes several changes that can have many lasting benefits — even when the body returns to normal temperature …
According to Rhonda Patrick, Ph.D. of FoundMyFitness.com, these include:
Improved cardiovascular mechanisms and lower heart rate.
Lower core body temperature during workload
Higher sweat rate and sweat sensitivity as a function of increased thermoregulatory control.
Increased blood flow to skeletal muscle (known as muscle perfusion) and other tissues.
Reduced rate of glycogen depletion due to improved muscle perfusion.
Increased red blood cell count
Increased efficiency of oxygen transport to muscles.
This is why exercise is so important to your health and longevity.
And research now shows that sauna use causes the body to go through this same heat adaptation. It causes the body to go through these same physiological adaptions that benefit the body longer term.
Essentially, 30 minutes of relaxing sauna time may have the same cardiovascular and metabolic effects of intense aerobic exercise.
This can help explain the incredible numbers the Finland study found.
In addition to improving the body’s cardiovascular system, heat stress via sauna use has been shown to …
Increase growth hormone
Reduce protein degradation
Increase insulin sensitivity, and
Increase brain-derived neurotrophic factors, crucial for brain health.
Sauna use can be one of the easiest and most effective ways improve your health and longevity. Plus, many people find it incredibly relaxing and therapeutic.
You may have wellness centers in your neighborhood that have saunas. Many hotel spas and gyms offer saunas as well. You can also buy them for your home.
If you’re interested in trying it out, be sure to speak with the staff or other experts to make sure you spend just the right amount of time in the sauna so you don’t get overheated, which would counteract the benefits.
Generally, you might look to spend 15 to 30 minutes in a sauna, depending on a variety of factors like the temperature and your endurance. And be sure to drink plenty of water if this is something you’re interested in trying.
We’re interested to know how many of our readers already use a sauna and if any of you will now be using them more often. Please feel free to join the discussion in the comments below.
Happy and healthy investing,
Uncommon Wisdom Daily