The way your blood pressure rises during a sauna session and falls right after is similar to  the way your blood pressure falls when you’re done working out

By Nicole Ganglani | Lead photo by Estonian Saunas/Unsplash

A new study published in the journal Complementary Therapies in Medicine found that a 25-minute sauna session shares similar cardiovascular health benefits as a moderate-intensity exercise session.

The researchers examined over 19 participants to measure the immediate effects of sauna use on the cardiovascular system. Participants had their blood pressure and heart rate measured during the 30-minute sauna session. The heat exposure of the sauna led to an increase in systolic and diastolic blood pressure as well as in heart rate. All these then decreased right after the sauna session was over.

The way your blood pressure rises during a sauna session and falls right after is similar to  the way your blood pressure falls when you’re done working out. Both “tone” your system bu forcing it to work harder for a brief period and then return to a baseline level.

On a different day, the same participants were asked to do a submaximal exercise test on a cycle ergometer. The exercise load of the participants started at 50 watts with an increase of ten watts every minute. The researchers then found the same results between the sauna session and the physical load of 60 to 100 watts on the exercise bike. It was also discovered that a 25-minute sauna session shared the same benefits as a short exercise on a stationary bike.

According to one of the study’s authors, the way your blood pressure comes down after a sauna session is beneficial to the cardiovascular system. The way your blood pressure rises during a sauna session and falls right after is similar to  the way your blood pressure falls when you’re done working out. Both “tone” your system bu forcing it to work harder for a brief period and then return to a baseline level.

A Sauna Session Doesn’t Mean You’re Working Out

To clarify, a sauna session technically isn’t a workout, so it doesn’t necessarily give you the same benefits of exercising. Consider a sauna session instead as a great complement to your actual workout routine.

Because ultimately, getting in a sauna can be beneficial in so many ways: It helps improve blood circulation, reduce muscle soreness, improve joint movements, and ease arthritis pain. It’s also a great way to reduce stress levels and is known to improve skin problems and asthma.

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive the latest sports news and active lifestyle and fitness features you need